Karen Ocamb

No Vote on Uganda Anti Homosexuality Bill

Filed By Karen Ocamb | May 13, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: peter ssempa, Uganda

Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin is reporting that the Ugandan Parliament has adjourned without taking a vote Uganda-antigay-headline-.jpgas expected on the horrific Anti Homosexuality Bill. Burroway cautions that there is a procedural way the bill could be revived in the next Parliament so he encourages vigilance. The new Parliament convenes on May 18.

Here's an excerpt from the Associated Press (via the San Francisco Chronicle):

Speaker of Parliament Edward Ssekandi Kiwanuk said there is no time to take up the bill this session, which ends Wednesday, leaving the bill's future uncertain. Kiwanuk adjourned the parliament Friday and set no date for the body to return.

The bill has drawn criticism from U.S. leaders and human rights groups. The U.S. State Department spokesman on Wednesday called the bill "odious" and said no changes to the bill's wording would justify its passage.

Avaaz, an Internet group that champions action on issues like poverty and climate change, called it a "victory for all Ugandans and people across the world who value human rights" that parliament did not take action Friday.

"This vile bill is a matter of life and death for gay Ugandans, and would have seen the execution, imprisonment and persecution of friends of Avaaz, and thousands of others who have committed no crime at all. We must now ensure this heinous bill can never return to Parliament again," said Alice Jay, the group's campaign director.

David Bahati, who authored the bill, has said that if the anti-gay bill was not voted on this session, he would try to move the legislation forward next session.

Helen Kawesa, spokeswoman for parliament, said the anti-gay bill could come back up for debate in the next parliament but that it would likely take time to get back to the floor.

Kakoba Onyango, a member of parliament, said the anti-gay bill has taken so long to be acted on because President Yoweri Museveni did not back it and because of the criticism of human rights groups.

Gay rights groups say that the harassment of gays has increased in Uganda since the introduction of the bill in October 2009.

Cross-posted at LGBT POV, img of Headline in Uganda newspaper via Avaaz

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Brad Bailey | May 13, 2011 4:09 PM

There are many countries in the world that criminalize, persecute and execute homosexuals by law, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.
The U.S. trades with many of them.

What differentiates Uganda from the rest is the major role played by American anti-gay-for-pay Christian activists in the creation of this bill.

By constantly delaying the vote, Ugandan leaders are walking a thin line between appeasing their countrymen and keeping the hundreds of millions dollars they receive annually from U.S. aid.