The “Kill The Gays” bill is infamous around the world for its provision mandating the death penalty for anyone convicted of “crimes” in the area of homosexuality, same-sex rape, “serial offender,” and HIV/AIDS .
It has been sponsored since 2009 by David Bahati, an MP with clearly visible homophobic tendencies.
The bill is strongly supported by the First Lady Janet Museveni and legislators with close ties to the American religious right. Opposed by the State Department and leaders around the world, it never came to a vote in parliament.
Also the Roman-Catholic Church under Bishop Cyprian Lwanga denounced the bill’s death penalty and imprisonment provisions as a contradiction to a “Christian caring approach” towards the issues. But he also stated: “We, the Catholic Bishops of Uganda, appreciate and applaud the Government’s effort to protect the traditional family and its values.”His last statement seems now to catch up with him.
The Vatican issued in December 2009 a clear statement denouncing “all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons,” particularly “the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State.”
The bill also includes:
- A 7-year jail sentence for consenting adults who have gay sex;
- A life sentence for people in same-sex marriages;
- Extradition and prosecution of LGBT Ugandans living abroad;
- The death penalty for adults who have gay sex with minors or people with disabilities, consensual or no, or who communicate HIV via gay sex, regardless of condom usage or consent;
- Jail for anyone who doesn’t report suspected gay people within 24 hours;
- A ban on the “promotion” of homosexuality so open-ended that it would endanger HIV/AIDS treatment and sexual health clinics in the country and could effectively exclude gay people from petitioning the courts by making those representing them liable for criminal action;
- A mandate to break all ties with international commitments and laws opposing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Now it seems that the stance of the Roman Catholic Church in Uganda is now snow from yesterday.
The Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), an ecumenical body which brings together the Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox churches,participants resolved that the bill should be brought back to parliament. The UJCC said that the bill was needed to prevent what they called “an attack on the Bible and the institution of marriage.” MP Bahati seems to indicate his belief, that during the process of debating the bill in parliament, the death penalty would be removed from the bill. Certainly a very vague hope for a Catholic Bishop, now calling for the introduction of a bill, he vocally opposed in December 2009 during his broadcasted Christmas message.
This bill is clearly against human rights and the dignity of people – values every Catholic Bishop is called to defend. What ever drives Bishop Cyprian Lwanga – it can never be an excuse and what is remaining is to call on him to retract his support for this bill before it is too late and destroyed lives and blood is on his hands.