Despite the best efforts of activists, and political and social commentators, ignorance abounds concerning the atrocious Anti-Homosexuality Bill being proposed in Uganda at the moment.
Among the myths being perpetrated are that the legislation is only there to protect the “vulnerable,” such as children and the disabled, and that the death penalty either is being proposed only for these offenses or has been dropped altogether. All of these claims are false. The bill is effectively a mandate for the genocide/mass slaughter/mass murder/wholesale execution – call it what you will – of gays.
Has the death penalty been dropped from the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009?
No. There was a story put out by Bloomberg in December, in which Uganda’s Minister of Integrity and Ethics suggested this would happen. No evidence has since emerged that this is the case. No revised bill has been forthcoming, and in January, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni denied his government was responsible for its contents. It was a private member’s bill, submitted by Member of Parliament David Bahati.
To this day there still exists only one draft of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, and it includes the death penalty. Nothing has changed.
What offenses are covered by the bill, and with what penalties?
The bill proposes laws covering homosexuality, homosexuality-related offenses and a new offense of “aggravated homosexuality.”
In the bill, the following definitions are offered:
“sexual act” includes –
(a) physical sexual activity that does not necessarily culminate in intercourse and may include the touching of another’s breast, vagina, penis or anus:
(b) stimulation or penetration of a vagina or mouth or anus or any part of the body of any person, however slight by a sexual organ;
(c) the unlawful use of any object or organ by a person on another person’s sexual organ or anus or mouth;
“sexual organ” means a vagina, penis or any artificial sexual contraption;
“touching” includes touching –
(a) with any part of the body;
(b) with anything else;
(c) through anything;
and in particular includes touching amounting to penetration of any sexual organ. anus or mouth.
“victim” includes a person who is involved in homosexual activities against his or her will.
It is crucial to bear these definitions in mind in order to understand the bill and its implications.
In Part II, specific homosexual offenses are defined, and the penalties made clear:
(1) A person commits the offence of homosexuality if –
(a) he penetrates the anus or mouth of another person of the same sex with his penis or any other sexual contraption;
(b) he or she uses any object or sexual contraption to penetrate or stimulate sexual organ of a person of the same sex;
(e) he or she touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.
(2) A person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.
Thus even “touching” with the intent of committing a homosexual act is punished with life imprisonment. Hugging and holding hands could be enough to warrant a life sentence under these rules.
Next, the bill defines “aggravated homosexuality”:
1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the (a) person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of 18 years;
(b) offender is a person living with HIV;
(c) offender is a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offence is committed;
(d) offender is a person in authority over the person against whom the offence is committed;
(e) victim of the offence is a person with disability;
(f) offender is a serial offender, or
(g) offender applies, administers or causes to be used by any man or woman any drug, matter or thing with intent to stupefy overpower him or her so as to there by enable any person to have unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex,
(2) A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death.
(3) Where a person is charged with the offence under this section, that person shall undergo a medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.
Uganda’s defenders and sympathizers have drawn attention to these mentions of victimization as evidence that the most severe penalties in the bill are reserved exclusively for instances of abuse, such as rape and child abuse. But largely ignored is the category of “serial offenders.” The bill defines “serial offender” thus:
a person who has previous convictions of the offence of homosexuality or related offences.
Let’s be absolutely clear about this: the bill is talking about those who are often referred to in the West as “practicing homosexuals.” Under the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 as it stands, practicing gays will be put to death. This is unavoidable. One offense (remembering that even relatively innocuous touching easily qualifies as a homosexual offense under the terms of the bill) means life imprisonment. Two offenses or more means death. Make no mistake; if the US were to adopt these laws, most people who openly identify as gay – yes, your friends, neighbours and family members, even those “closest friends” whom you love to boast about as evidence that you’re not really homophobic – would have been rounded up and executed by now.
One might add that even ex-gays caught making more than one “mistake” would be dead under these laws.
Attempts to commit these offenses are also subject to strict penalties:
(1) A person who attempts to commit the offence of homosexuality commits a felony and is liable on conviction to imprisonment seven years.
(2) A person who attempts to commit the offence of aggravated homosexuality commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.
Under the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, it is not just practicing gays who suffer. It extends to lesser homosexual offenses and anyone who aids and abets homosexuality. Visiting this website would be an offence of promoting homosexuality, punishable by a fine and up to seven years in prison. Allowing someone else to use your resources (your home, your computer, your workplace) to visit this website would incur the same penalty. Speaking out against the bill would in fact be criminal. Any pro-gay organization or corporation would not only face the same penalties, but would have its registration revoked. Under these laws, even a conservative Christian organization like Exodus could conceivably be shut down and its director thrown in jail.
And as with homosexuality and aggravated homosexuality, related offenses also carry the death penalty if they are committed more than once. This includes a “person in authority” who fails to report a homosexual offense within 24 hours. Two strikes and you’re out – of this life, literally.
Finally, just in case a gay Ugandan thinks he can leave the country and be free from these tyrannical, violent laws, no citizen of Uganda is free to practice homosexuality outside Uganda:
This Act shall apply to offenses committed outside Uganda where –
(a) a person who, while being a citizen of or permanently residing in Uganda, commits an act outside Uganda, which act would constitute an offence under this Act had it been committed in Uganda; or (b) the offence was committed partly outside and or partly in Uganda.
A person charged with an offence under this Act shall be liable to extradition under the existing extradition laws.
The Anglican Church is still fighting over whether to have gay bishops. Meanwhile, its members in Uganda have publicly announced their support for this ugly, inhumane legislation to kill homosexuals. [Correction: So far, while supporting the aims of the bill, the Church of Uganda has not explicitly affirmed its agreement with the death penalty clause. See here.]
The West must wake up to this unconscionable and brutal assault on human rights. There are still conservative Christians who are defending the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, either by direct support or failure to speak out. There is no doubt that the bill as it stands would enshrine in law of the execution of all practicing gays, and the persecution of all who dare to defend them.