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Uganda's New Homophobic Bill Is Even Worse Than Last Year's Anti-Homosexuality Act

A government committee in Uganda has drafted a new anti-gay law, one that has the potential to be even more draconian than the country's (now-invalidated) Anti-Homosexuality Act.

The Guardian reports:

According to a leaked copy of the new draft law, MPs have instead focused on outlawing the “promotion” of homosexuality – a potentially far more repressive and wide-reaching measure.

MugishaFrank Mugisha [pictured], a gay-rights activist, said: “People don’t realise that the ‘promotion’ part of it will affect everybody. If newspapers report about homosexuality it could be seen as promotion. My Twitter account could be seen as promotion. All human rights groups that include LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] rights defence in their activities could be accused of promotion.”

According to the draft, anyone convicted of “promoting” homosexuality would be liable to seven years in prison. “We have confirmed that the draft comes from the cabinet. Their plan is to present it to parliament as soon as possible, before the end of the year,” Mugisha said.

“They have just twisted the language but it is the same thing. It’s actually worse because the ‘promotion’ part is harsher and it will punish the funding of LGBT and human rights groups.”

In an editorial published earlier this month in Uganda's leading newspaper, president Yoweri Museveni warned that the country would be devastated by trade boycotts should lawmakers pursue additional anti-gay legislation. 

Check out the draft legislation below:


Here is Video of the Court Hearing Challenging Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act: WATCH

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Yesterday we reported that Uganda's Constitutional Court heard a petition challenging the country's Anti-Homosexuality Act.

Uganda's NTV network reported on the proceedings and uploaded the segment to YouTube.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Guardian adds:

Judges have adjourned the hearings until Friday, when they are expected to rule on the quorum issue.

Ugandan state lawyers defended the law on Thursday, the second day of the hearings, asking judges to dismiss the petition. "There is no evidence about the quorum," state attorney Patricia Mutesa told the court in the capital, Kampala.

But prominent gay-rights activist Frank Mugisha, one of the petitioners, said he was optimistic that judges would rule in favour of scrapping the law. "I think that we could have a very good judgment tomorrow, and if we get that judgment then it's over – and we just have to celebrate," said Mugisha, who heads the Sexual Minorities Uganda group.

Anti-gay preacher Martin Ssempa, who was also in court, said he feared the "judicial abortion of our bill" due to international pressure.

Continue reading "Here is Video of the Court Hearing Challenging Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act: WATCH" »


Canada Denies Visas for 10 Ugandan Gay Activists Invited to Toronto's World Pride Conference

Concerned that they would seek asylum upon arrival, Canada has denied visas for 10 Ugandan gay activists hoping to attend the World Pride human rights conference in June, the Star reports:

MugishaGay rights advocates say the decisions by the Canadian visa posts in Nairobi and London speak to the hypocrisy of the Stephen Harper government, which, in February, joined other Western nations in condemning Uganda for passing one of the world’s harshest anti-homosexuality laws.

“We are shocked and appalled. These individuals from Uganda are some of the most courageous heroes,” said Andrea Houston of #ENDhatelaws, a coalition founded in response to homophobia/transphobia across the globe, amid the controversy over anti-gay laws passed in Russia prior to the Winter Olympics.

“They are here to share their stories and have every intention to go home after the conference, because they all have work to do in Uganda. The assumption is they are here to claim asylum. The question is: Why can’t they, coming from the most hostile place in the world to LGBTQ people?”

The visa denials began in April.

Well-known Ugandan activist Frank Mugisha is the only one who will come to the conference, and has a multi-entry visa according to the paper.

A review of the visa decisions showed the Ugandan’s applications were rejected for a combination of reasons: lack of travel history, family ties in Canada and in Uganda, and insufficient funds for the trip.

In eight of the applications, officials concluded they did not believe the applicants had a legitimate business purpose in Canada. In six, the officers said the applicants did not have the money to “carry out your stated purpose in going to Canada or to maintain yourself while in Canada and to effect your departure.”


National Security Council Staff Meet with Ugandan Activist Frank Mugisha Over Anti-Gay Law

Nsc

President Obama's National Security Council met with Ugandan activist Frank Mugisha yesterday to discuss the Anti-Homosexuality Law recently passed there and posted photos to Twitter.

The NSC account added: "In their mtg w/ @frankmugisha, NSC’s Grant Harris & Steve Pomper reiterated U.S. support for freedom, justice, equal rights for all Ugandans"


Frank Mugisha Says 'I Would Be Sentenced To Death' If Uganda Bill Passes

MugishaRadio host Michelangelo Signorile got a chance to speak with Ugandan gay activist Frank Mugisha about the on-going debate about the "kill the gays" bill there.

Despite rumors that the death penalty for gay people has been removed from the bill, Mugisha insists that's logistically impossible: "The committee said they have completed their report, and the committee cannot change the legislation. What they can do is, they can only make recommendations in their report. So right now we are talking about legislation that has the death penalty." And if that bill passes, Mugisha says he's as good as dead: "The fact that I’ve already said in Uganda that I’m gay, and that I’m an advocate for LGBT rights, that means I’m promoting homosexuality in Uganda, according to this bill. This legislation, if passed into law, it would automatically make me a serial offender and I would be sentenced to death."

According to Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade, however, a dispute over another, unrelated bill has stopped Parliamentary progress, meaning that the session may end for the season before the kill the gays bill can be passed. That would buy some time to fight it, but without a huge cultural shift, particularly one encouraged by Western donors, the bill will probably return down the road.

You can listen to audio of Signorile and Mugisha's chat at HuffPo.


PBS NewsHour Covers Danger for Gays in Uganda and Re-emergence of Anti-Homosexuality Bill: VIDEO

Uganda

PBS NewsHour did an excellent 8-minute piece last night on the re-emergence of the "kill the gays" bill in Uganda, slain activist David Kato, anti-gay evangelizing by American 'Christianists' like Scott Lively, Hillary Clinton's statement to the UN urging rights for LGBTs in Africa and abroad, and the dangerous political atmosphere for gays now.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Here's a companion article:

The bill's re-emergence this year is a direct, defiant result of the recent Obama administration move to use foreign aid to push gay rights. "Gay rights are human rights," declared Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

How Uganda's legislation fares this time around is anyone's guess. As journalists "parachuting in" to cover it, our recent experience may well serve as a proxy for how the legislation -- or homosexuality in general -- has become a third rail nobody wants to touch.

Continue reading "PBS NewsHour Covers Danger for Gays in Uganda and Re-emergence of Anti-Homosexuality Bill: VIDEO" »


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