- Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni signed into law the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
- It has been described as extremely discriminatory, with punishments that include death penalties and life imprisonment.
- The new law has been widely condemned worldwide, but it enjoys popular support in Uganda where LGBTQ communities are minority groups in a largely conservative nation.
In a move that has been widely condemned across the whole world as inhumane, extremely discriminatory, and an affront to fundamental rights and freedoms, Uganda has enacted a “harsh” law against same-sex relations and marriages, with the “worst” offenders liable to be punished by death.
Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s president, signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law; and Uganda now has one of the toughest anti-LGBTQ laws in the world.
Same-sex relations had always been illegal in Uganda. But the new anti-LGBTQ law, described in the Western press as “harsh”, has become more draconian.
Those described as “serial offenders” against the law, and those who transmit HIV/AIDS through gay sexual intercourse, are liable to capital punishment. Offences such as the “recruitment, funding and promotion” of “same-sex” acts will attract a 20-year prison sentence. And those convicted of “attempted aggravated homosexuality” faces a 14-year prison sentence. It is that serious.
Earlier on Monday, the 29th of May, the Anita Anette Among, the speaker of Uganda’s parliament, announced on social media that President Museveni had assented to the bill. The Members of Parliament (MPs) had already passed the bill in March.
She tweeted, ““The president … has assented to the Anti-Homosexuality Act. As the parliament of Uganda, we have answered the cries of our people. We have legislated to protect the sanctity of [the] family.
“We have stood strong to defend our culture and [the] aspirations of our people,” she said, extending her gratitude to Museveni for his “steadfast action in the interest of Uganda.”
Subsequently, her U.S. visa has since been cancelled by the American Embassy.
The United Nations high commissioner for human rights lambasted the draconian law by describing it as “shocking and discriminatory”.
Clare Byarugaba, a Ugandan rights activist, poignantly remarked, “The Ugandan president has today legalised state-sponsored homophobia and transphobia”.
Yoweri Museveni once previously referred to homosexuality as a “deviation from the normal”, calling on Ugandan lawmakers to fight against this “imperialist pressure”.
Yet, right-wing and fundamentalist American-sponsored Evangelical church groups have played a huge role in spreading anti-homosexuality attitudes and sentiments in the country.
Uganda is largely a conservative nation, and with its unchanged colonial legacies, it is dominated with antiquated religious and patriarchal beliefs; is deeply cemented in the social, economic, and political fabric of Uganda.
Although the bill had been backed by nearly all MPs in March, Reuters notes how it was not difficult for Museveni to get more nation-wide approval “in a conservative country where anti-LGBTQ attitudes have hardened in recent years, in part due to campaigning by Western evangelical church groups”.
The new anti-gay law is thus informed by the flimsy, parochial, and populist narrative of “morality” and the “preservation of traditional family values”.
The United Nations condemned the new law. Part of its statements read: “We are appalled that the draconian and discriminatory anti-gay bill is now law. It is a recipe for systematic violations of the rights of LGBT people and the wider population. It conflicts with the constitution and international treaties and requires urgent judicial review.”