Update: Please read Melanie Nathan’s caution on what should and shouldn’t be done to fight this initiative — she strongly urges that countries not withdraw aid because of this bill, because the LGBTI community will be scapegoated and targeted as a result.
I leave the rest of this post intact because I am concerned that they are already in trouble — every activist in Uganda risks being arrested as it stands, with or without economic sanctions from countries opposed to Uganda’s declared murderous intentions. Her advice is excellent for outsiders like us looking in, though.
Uganda’s apparently delivered an early “Christmas gift” — their words, not mine– to all the homophobic Christians in their theocratic regime. Thanks to GOP members, Catholic pastors, and other outside interference by various and sundry religious bigots, Uganda’s finally built enough momentum and passed the two-year-old proposed bill that will require the death penalty for the high crime of “aggravated homosexuality”. Update: Apparently Kadaga declaring that it will become law doesn’t make it set in stone. There’s a chance this won’t be passed despite her sabre-rattling.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the anti-gay bill will become law by December since most Ugandans ‘are demanding it’.
Referring to the law as a ‘Christmas gift’ to the population, she spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals.
The law will broaden the criminalization of same-sex relationships by dividing homosexuality into two categories; aggravated homosexuality and the offense of homosexuality.
‘Aggravated homosexuality’ is defined as gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, pedophiles and repeat offenders. If convicted, they will face the death penalty.
The ‘offense of homosexuality’ includes same-sex sexual acts or being in a gay relationship, and will be prosecuted by life imprisonment.
Let me wrap my head around this. Parents and authority figures taking advantage of children and charges — that’s pedophilia, and sexual abuse. Both are already crimes, with or without a homosexual element, here at least. Are they not there? Is it only a crime there if it involves homosexuality?
And HIV-positive folks engaging in homosexual sex with informed consent (say, with protection, or with other HIV-positive lovers) could still be charged, as well as people who’ve been caught being gay multiple times (“repeat offenders”). This bill not only criminalizes homosexuality, it also does its damnedest to conflate homosexuality with pedophilia and other sex crimes. And just having consensual gay sex, or a chaste homosexual relationship, will net you a life sentence!
Canada provides a good deal of material aid to Uganda — ending that aid would send a serious message, that the wholesale slaughter of people for being slightly different just because some hairy and third-hand interpretation of your ancient holy book says you should is simply unacceptable. Several European countries are curtailing or outright suspending aid to Uganda; Obama called it “odious”, and John Baird is on record as being against it, saying it “offends decency”. There’s a popular upwelling of international opposition to this brutal and inhumane nonsense, so now’s the time for action.
Here’s how you find the contact info for your local Member of Parliament. Write them and tell them to sever Canada’s ties to Uganda until that odious bill, which legalizes religiously-motivated hate crimes against homosexuals, is repealed. Update: Please strongly recommend that this aid go instead to local LGBTI groups and other humanitarian efforts that aren’t specifically the corrupt and villainous theocratic government they have in place presently. Also, I’d recommend we ask our MPs to include Uganda to the fast-track refugee list.
I don’t much like copypasta for this sort of thing, but if there’s a greater chance that you’ll do something about this if given a sample letter, I’ll consider cleaning up the one I’m drafting now and posting it here for you to use as well. Seeing as how my local MP, Scott Brison, is openly gay, it should be a slam dunk that he’ll be on board.