HRC Calls On Faith Community To Fight Uganda's 'Kill The Gays' Bill
The Ugandan situation is changing by the hour. Yesterday Andy reported that lawmakers there are looking to vote on a bill that would impose even harsher penalties on gay people and their allies. That vote could come as early as today but almost definitely before Christmas.
Well, the BBC now reports that the law's call for execution of gays and lesbians has been removed, but that anti-gay leaders are still pushing for extraordinarily harsh and brutal punishments:
The bill, tabled by MP David Bahati, proposes longer jail terms for homosexual acts, including a life sentence in certain circumstances.
In its original form, those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality" - defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a "serial offender" - faced the death penalty.
Such offenses would now be punished with life imprisonment, it is understood.
The original bill also prohibited the "promotion" of gay rights and called for the punishment of anyone who "funds or sponsors homosexuality" or "abets homosexuality".
Mr Bahati has previously said that the death penalty provision would be dropped but this has not been confirmed until now.
Some are suggesting that this "removal" of the death penalty may just be a PR cover and that the actual bill's language may obscure the truth. Time will tell what happens there.
Here in the United States, HRC is asking religious organizations and leaders, particularly Evangelical conservatives who have encouraged homophobia in Uganda, to reach across the pond and ask their Ugandan peers to fight for what's decent and right, like not jailing people for being born gay.
"American faith leaders know that calling for the death penalty - or even calling for imprisonment of - an entire community is not in line with Christian values," HRC President Chad Griffin said in a press release today. "American Christian faith leaders with ties to Uganda, like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes, must reach out to their influential Ugandan friends to ensure that the human rights of Ugandans are not put up to a vote."