Uganda’s parliament voted to reopen a debate on a bill that seeks to outlaw homosexuality that may be expanded to include the death penalty for gay people.The legislation will be sent to the relevant session committee for consideration, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told lawmakers today in a televised debate from the capital, Kampala…
Legislators on Uganda’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee in the previous parliament suggested adding a clause that would make it a criminal offense to perform same-sex marriages…
In a different venue, Bloomberg also reports:
The bill enjoys considerable support in Uganda, where homosexuality is widely abhorred, and may well pass if it comes to a parliamentary vote. President Yoweri Museveni would probably veto it, knowing that passage would alienate Uganda’s Western allies, on whom the country relies for development assistance.For now, the circus around the draft law suits Museveni, who has been in power for 25 years. Domestically, it whips up support for his party, the National Resistance Movement. Internationally, it attracts opprobrium but also distracts critics from other Ugandan scandals for which Museveni bears more direct responsibility: the arrest of opposition figures, police brutality, corruption….
Museveni could put a stop to the drama around the bill, if he wanted to. This weekend Australia is hosting a summit meeting of heads of government of the Commonwealth, the countries of the former British Empire, of which Uganda is part. It is an opportunity for other members such as the U.K. and Canada to lean on him to stop playing politics with human rights.
“I do not, nor have I ever, supported or condoned this legislation. It is my hope that Uganda will abandon this unjust and extraordinarily harsh legislation,” Inhofe said.
But: Inhofe’s strong statement comes a little more than a week after he told Tulsa talk-show host Pat Campbell that Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni, a supporter of the bill, was “doing a good job.” Both Inhofe and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, also of Oklahoma, are known members of the fundamentalist Christian “Family,” as reported by writer Jeff Sharlet in his books The Family and C Street.
This article, from the web-site ‘Episcopal Cafe’, outlines the disturbing reality that certain fundamentalist ‘Christians’ in the U.S.A. are intent on doing what they can to advance the cause of homophobia in Uganda. While it suits President Museveni to allow the prospect of death-dealing legislation against Gays to proceed in the new session of the Ugandan Parliament; he will also be concerned to balance the endemic homophobia in Uganda (which has the overt support of the local Anglican Church) – against the prospect of active opposition from the more liberal Western governments, who could withdraw their current developmental and financial support from his continuing regime.
The really sad fact is that the hierarchy of the Anglican Church in Uganda is part and parcel of the continuing oppression of homosexuals in that country – a complicity factor which puts it into conflict with Uganda’s membership of both the British Commonwealth and the United Nations.
One wonders whether the upcoming legislation against Gays in Uganda featured on the agenda of the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia? And if so, what was the outcome?
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand