- East Africa
- Religion - Sexuality - Governance
Uganda: Anglican cleric seeks withdrawal of anti-gay bill
Pro-gays in Uganda have today petitioned Uganda parliament requesting that the controversial gay bill which was tabled in parliament last year be withdrawn immediately.
The anti-gay bill was tabled in parliament by member of parliament David Bahati in October 2009. Since then a lot has been debated about the harshness of punishments in the bill.
The petition was today morning presented to the speaker of Uganda parliament Edward Sekandi by four people who said were representing Aids service providers, human rights activists, spiritual mentors and councilors.
Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha, the first Anglican church priest in Uganda to declare that he was living with HIV-AIDs in late 1980, led the group that presented the bill to the speaker in parliament.
Byamigisha told the press in Kampala that the speaker welcomed their petition and promised to send it to the committee working on the bill. He said that Sekandi told them that it is now too late to withdraw the bill because it is already in the hands of parliamentarians.
The cleric insists they are against the bill because it does not mean well for the gays and those living with HIV-AIDS. We are all potential victims of this draconian bill. It requires various members of community to spy on one another," he said.
"Anyone who fails to report a homosexual within 24 hours of gaining that knowledge could be jailed. This would abstract religious leaders, doctors counselors and other services providers in their essential roles."
Arguing that they are united about issues relating to sexuality and gays’ rights, he said that what Uganda needs now are laws to protect people, not laws that will humiliate, ridicule, persecute and kill them.
"This bill goes against the Uganda constitution and threatens the health, peace and well being of Ugandan citizens.
"If this bill is passed, many of us could face violence, prison, and even death, simply for the care, compassion and pastoral services we provide."
In the proposed bill if someone living with HIV-AIDs intentionally inflicts it to a child below 18 years, he is sentenced to death.