Death penalty removed from Ugandan ‘Kill the Gays’ bill

By Arturo Garcia
Saturday, November 24, 2012 20:07 EDT
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Ugandan lawmakers take death penalty out of anti-LGBT bill
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Ugandan lawmakers removed the death penalty from an anti-LGBT bill set to be debated by the country’s parliament next week, the BBC reported Saturday.

The proposal, called the “Kill The Gays” bill when first introduced three years ago, has undergone other unspecified “revisions,” said MP Medard Segona, who was part of the country’s Legal and Parliamentary committee. The committee reviewed the bill this week and endorsed it, paving the way for parliamentary debate.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda; according to CNN, the latest version of the bill substitutes life in prison as a penalty for offering shelter to a gay person, refusing to notify police if they suspect someone is gay, and “touching another person with intent of committing homosexuality.”

The new version of the bill also punishes “aggravated homosexuality” — which, the bill says, occurs when one of the participants is disabled, underage, HIV-positive or a “serial offender” — with life in prison, and calls for harsher penalties overall against LGBT individuals or supporters.

“Some of us who are human rights activists would discourage the death penalty,” Segona said.

Earlier this week, a Ugandan court postponed the trial of British theater producer David Cecil, whose play The River and The Mountain dealt with LGBT subject matter, which is also illegal. Cecil is now scheduled to go to trial for “disobeying lawful orders” in January.

“We are ruled by a constitution,” human rights attorney Ladislaus Rwakafuzi told NTV Uganda. “The constitution will not allow the majority to oppress the minority. “Adults who want to do whatever they want to do behind their bedroom [doors] should be free to do what they want. How are you going to police adults?”

Watch NTV Uganda’s report on the changes to the bill, as aired Friday, below.

[h/t Metro Weekly]

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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