|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, internationally-denounced legislation that would have prescribed all Ugandan gays to be put in jail for life, would have required reporting to the government anyone suspected of being homosexual within 24 hours, and possibly would have demanded the death penalty for the “crime” of homosexuality, appears to be dead.
A government subcommittee reportedly told reporters that the law duplicated other laws in Uganda, one of 83 countries where homosexuality is already illegal. David Bahati, an MP in Uganda’s Parliament and the chief proponent of the “Kill the Gays” bill, said of the two year-old bill’s apparent demise, “I think that the government is aware that 95 percent of Ugandans do not condone homosexuality,” according to a translation of a Spanish-language news report.
Box Turtle Bulletin’s Jim Burroway also writes, “Uganda’s Information Minister was reportedly shown on television explaining that the bill will not be passed because other laws already exist which criminalize homosexuality. However, some parts of the bill may be attached to the Sexual Offenses Act. Which parts, we don’t know. Our source writes, “Bahati was panicked and tried to look defiant.”
The infamous bill received world-wide attention, especially for the portions that would have made the death penalty the punishment for “aggravated homosexuality.” Seven other countries already make homosexuality punishable by death.
While it remains unclear what prompted this change, it was widely-expected the bill would be debated and voted upon this week. Earlier this week, ahead of the Ugandan bill and thanks to a U.S.-led move at the United Nations, the international body voted to condemn violence against the LGBT community.
Ugandan gay and human rights activist David Kato was brutally murdered on January 26 of this year as he worked to defeat the “Kill the Gays” bill. News of his death prompted statements of condolence around the world, including from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, as well as a renewed focus on the “Kill the Gays” bill. The U.S. Secretary of State was widely-credited for this week’s successful UN vote.
Kato’s killer or killers have yet to be charged, and the government had claimed at one point Kato’s murder was the result of self-defense because Kato had sex with his suspected murderer. These claims have been denounced as baseless.
Last year, a Ugandan newspaper, Rolling Stone, (unrelated to the U.S. magazine) itself became the focus of news around the world for several front-page anti-gay stories it published, which included names, addresses, and photographs of prominent homosexuals, while urging readers to “hang them.”
Bahati, who earlier had said of the “Kill the Gays” bill, “It is popular here,” also has made a name for himself internationally, amid reports he is connected to “The Family,” also known as “The Fellowship,” an American clandestine political and religious group based in the now-infamous “C Street House.” Bahati in 2009 said homosexuality “is a behaviour that is learned and it can be unlearned,” and, “Homosexuality it is not a human right. It is not in-born.”
Bahati also has ties to mega-church pastor Rick Warren, who in late 2009 finally (somewhat) came out against the “Kill the Gays” bill.
The “Kill the Gays” bill is widely-believed to be the brainchild, or at least created based on the teachings of American Evangelicals, including Scott Lively.