A seemingly well meaning poll aimed at raising awareness of a proposed Ugandan law that would subject gay men and women to execution found itself in the middle of reader ire after its wording raised questions about the underlying premise of the poll.
Posted on a BBC talkboard, the poll question read, “”Yes, we accept it is a stark and disturbing question, but this is the reality behind an anti-homosexuality bill being debated on Friday by the Ugandan parliament which would see some homosexual offences punishable by death. Has Uganda gone too far? Should there be any level of legislation against homosexuality? Should homosexuals be protected by legislation as they are in South Africa? What would be the consequences of this bill to you? How will homosexual ‘offences’ be monitored?”
Reader responses included the expected commendations of the anti-gay law — comments moderated by the BBC.
“Totally agree,” replied one commenter, who drew 51 votes of support. “Ought to be imposed in the UK too, asap. Bring back some respectable family values. Why do we have to suffer ‘gay pride’ festivals? Would I be allowed to organise a ‘straight pride’ festival? No, thought as much!! If homosexuality is natural, as we are forced to believe, how can they sustain the species? I suggest all gays are put on a remote island somewhere and left for a generation – after which, theoretically there should be none left!”
Another added: “Bravo to the Ugandans for this wise decision, a bright step in eliminating this menace from your society. We hope other African nations will also follow your bold step.”
Some readers expressed their shock at the question.
“I feel like I have just stepped in to a demonic parallel universe?” one stunned reader wrote. “Should homosexuals be executed??? And people are actually debating it!”
Added one more, “‘God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.’ Eve was the one who took the forbidden fruit. Perhaps if it was Adam and Steve we’d all still be in the Garden of Eden, but drinking Cosmopolitans, wearing fine designer labels, listening to uber trendy house music and being nothing less than ‘Fabulous, dahling!'”
By the time the BBC aired the program, the question had been changed to, “Should Uganda debate gay execution?”
The debate online is now closed and reflects the updated, tamer, question.