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Ugandan parliament to debate anti-gay bill

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, November 22, 2012 12:53 EDT
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Ugandan lawmakers will debate a controversial anti-gay bill calling for severe punishments for homosexuality in the near future, a parliamentary spokeswoman said Thursday.

The proposed legislation could come up for debate in the next few days after it was included as the third item on Thursday’s order paper for parliamentary business, said Helen Kawesa.

“After parliament has disposed of all the business ahead of it on the order paper it will then move on to discussing that bill,” Kawesa said.

First introduced in 2009, the bill was initially shelved following international condemnation. US President Barack Obama described its contents as “odious”.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but the new bill proposes introducing the death sentence for anyone caught engaging in homosexual acts for a second time, as well as for gay sex where one partner is a minor or has HIV.

It would also criminalise the public promotion of homosexuality — including discussions by rights groups — with a sentence of up to seven years in prison for anyone convicted.

The lawmaker behind the bill, David Bahati has said that the death penalty clause is likely to be dropped from the final version of the bill.

The current session of Uganda’s parliament ends in mid-December.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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