Tags: Uganda | gay | death penalty | bill

Uganda's President Vows to Soften Anti-Gay Bill

Thursday, 24 December 2009 12:15 PM

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says he will intervene to soften a anti-gay legislation that proposes homosexuals should be imprisoned or put to death. This comes after much international criticism over the bill.

In its current form, the bill proposes life imprisonment and even the death penalty for gays and lesbians in Uganda.

Museveni's top aide said on Thursday that the president was planning to intervene to address the concerns of Uganda's Western partners who have expressed strong opposition to the bill.

"We should not have an extreme position. The president will harmonize the two sides and address the concerns of the Europeans and our other development partners." said Museveni's spokesman.

The bill, which is yet to be debated in Uganda's parliament, would have gay men and lesbians sentenced to life in prison for having sex. In cases of sex with minors or sexual acts leading to HIV infection, the penalty would be death. The bill also proposes that anyone who fails to report a homosexual act committed by others would face up to three years in jail.

International reaction to the bill has been widespread condemnation, with some Western states threatening to withdraw aid to Uganda if the government passes the bill into law. There has also been outcry from the country's small gay and lesbian community. ChurchBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Church groups worldwide have condemned the bill

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has also criticized the bill, saying it would run against basic Christian teaching by promoting hatred.

"From the experience of many nations, it is very clear that if such a bill is enacted into law, it will leave a lot of room for manipulation, abuse, blackmail and oppression of people" said WCC chief Samuel Kobia.

A top Anglican cleric of Ugandan decent in the UK, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, said he was "totally opposed to the death sentence" and found the language being used to describe homosexuals "upsetting".

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Thursday, 24 December 2009 12:15 PM
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