15 May 2011

Uganda Lets Anti-Gay Bill Die

Uganda is a country in East Africa at between mass violence torn Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, and Sudan that has itself experienced mass political violence (the best known being massacres by Ida Admin in the 1970s) in its recent history. Its purchased ties to Gaddafi have made it a pivotal in efforts to find a resolution of the situation in Libya, and it has plaed in active and mixed role in addressing regional conflicts.

Uganda is also remarkable for being a nation in Africa where the dominant political forces, sometimes violent, are the local brands of evangelical Christianity. This political wave has manifested itself in major social issue overhauls of its statutes, after long periods of legislative stagnation under less than democratic rule.

One recent wave of legislative change that received widespread praise was one of the most dramatic legislative reforms to establish women's equality and give women's rights that force of law in all of history in a given country as the direction of its constitutional court on April 4, 2007.

Another, which secured widespread international condemnation and massive popular support locally, was a virtulently anti-gay bill that has been considered by its parliament for the last eighteen months:

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill sought to impose the death penalty for a number of reasons, including being a “serial offender” of the “offense of homosexuality.” The bill also called for Ugandans to alert the government to known cases of homosexual behavior within 24 hours.

Religious leaders said they had obtained more than two million signatures in support of the measure[.] . . .

Since the bill was introduced, gay-rights advocates have gone into hiding in Uganda; a vitriolic newspaper published the names and addresses of gay men and lesbians and told readers to kill them; and one prominent activist for gay rights, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in his neighborhood outside Kampala.

The bill expired with Uganda's current legislative session on Friday, in a major victory for gay rights defenders and the international community. The far away legislative debate has made its way to American shores because missions of prominent American evangelical churches have been financial backers of the churches and political organizations that have been pivotal in backing the anti-gay legislation in Uganda. Pressure from gay rights activists on these churches, which often aren't known for their anti-gay stances in their U.S. activities, may be one important behind the scenes reason that the legislation has faltered in Uganda.


The Red Ribbon Army said...

The bill is not dead. It will certainly be brought back in the next Parliamentary session, which could open as soon as May 18. Let's NOT release the pressure yet!

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

I don't disagree.