We are sure you have heard bits and pieces about this over the last few days, but yes it is true that the Ugandan Parliament passed and President Yoweri Museveni signed into a law, a bill that made some homosexual acts (and not so homosexual acts) punishable by life in prison.
Here’s nuts and bolts version of what’s going on from what we have gathered.
The original bill was brought up in 2009. In that draft, there was actually a clause that allowed people to be given the death penalty for certain acts. Offenders of these acts called “aggravated homosexuality” — which include sex in which once person has HIV, sex with a minor, and/or being serial offenders (code for out and proud) — now can get a life sentence.
Actual homosexuals are not the only ones being punished under the new law. It also allows up to seven years in prison for people and institutions who perform same-sex marriage ceremonies or support LGBT people. We have included a infograph from allout.org below.
Museveni was back and forth about the bill for the last few months. At one point arguing that if LGBT people were “born this way” that they were sick and should be helped not imprisoned. So he had a group of scientists study whether there was a “gay gene”. They came back and said no, so he then agreed to punish the choice of homosexuality.
In a country where 96% of Ugandans believe society should not accept homosexuality, are we surprised there was more outrage from Westerners than the actual people that live there? What if anything do you think that the UN or US for that matter can/should do?
Just an aside: This isn’t actually new. Even before Museveni signed the bill, some homosexual acts were punishable by 14 years to life in prison.