Uganda to Pass Law for Harsher Punishments Against Homosexuality

| by Michael Allen

The government of Uganda is expected to pass a controversial bill which doles out harsher punishments for people engaging in homosexual acts and to those who promote homosexuality.

Homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda, punishable by life imprisonment, but this new bill would widen the scope of crimes around homosexuality and impose tougher punishments, reports

Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of the house in Uganda’s parliament, said on November 9 that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be passed before the end of 2012.

Speaking to religious leaders and anti-gay activists, Kadaga said: “Parliament has been energized because you have given us the instructions. We have the bill. We have the order paper and the numbers [to pass it]."

In an October meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Canada, which condemned Uganda's anti-gay laws, Kadaga said that Canada should respect Uganda’s “sovereign rights, cultural values and societal norms."

Pepe Julian Onziema, the program director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, told IRIN/PlusNews: “If this bill is passed into law, it will gravely affect HIV intervention because it will drive very many sexual minorities underground. There is nothing harder in society than curbing health issues of people who are marginalized and underground.”