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Religious Tolerance logo

Law targets GLB community in Uganda

2014-FEB-24 to JUN-19.
President signed revised bill into law.
Bill promoter, Pastor Scott Lively is
candidate for governor of Massachusetts.

Sponsored link.

"GLB" is an acronym referring to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.
More commonly, the letter "T" is added to include
transgender persons and transsexuals.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay.

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2014-FEB-24: President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill into law:

Same-gender sexual behavior has long been a criminal act in Uganda. By signing this new bill into law, President Museveni increased the penalties enormously.

There have been many changes in the bill from the original "Kill the Gays" version:

  • The provision of the death penalty was removed.

  • The original version of the bill required that anyone who is aware that another person is sexually active with members of the same sex must report that person to the police or face prosecution themselves. Media reports differ on whether this provision has been deleted or retained.

  • The sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment for first time offenders was removed.

  • For the first time, same-gender sexual behavior by women is included.

  • Being in a same-sex marriage can result in a life sentence in prison.

  • "Attempting to commit homosexuality" can bring a 7 year sentence.

  • The "promotion of homosexuality" has been criminalized. A fine equivalent to U.S. $40,700 and/or 5 to 7 years in jail can be imposed on any groups that promote rights for the LGBT community.

  • GLBs can receive life imprisonment for "aggravated homosexuality." This includes sex involving a minor or having sex when HIV-positive. 1

President Museveni said:

"... I am now going to sign the bill because I am convinced with the available information that these people are not born like that. They just learned, and they can unlearn what they have learned." 2

The bill's sponsor, MP David Bahati, said that homosexuality is a:

"behaviour that can be learned and can be unlearned. ... Homosexuality is just bad behaviour that should not be allowed in our society." 1

U.S. president Obama referred to the new law as:

"... more than an affront, and a danger to, Uganda's gay community. It will be a step backwards for all Ugandans." 1

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2014-FEB: Status of GLB human rights in Africa:

In the northern African countries, the predominate religion is Islam; in the southern countries it is Christianity.

GLB rights in Africa 1

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2014-MAR-25: Scott Lively speaks out as a candidate for governor of Massachusetts:

Scott Lively (I), a pastor from Springfield, MA, is running for governor of the state. He appeared at a forum for LGBT rights with 5 Democratic and 2 other Independent candidates. The meeting was sponsored by MassEquality. He attacked what he called "LGBT propaganda," and repeated the beliefs that he had used in Uganda to promote the anti-LGBT law in that country. He argued that homosexuality is an acquired condition, and not a "normal" form of human sexuality. He promoting reparative therapy which has been largely discredited by even the evangelical Christian community because it is unsafe and totally ineffective. He said that AIDS can be stopped by ending "homosexual sodomy."

The other 7 candidates at the forum mentioned their support for LGBT rights.

Kara Coredini, executive director of MassEquality, said:

"Those of us who support LGBTQ rights are on the right side of history, and no amount of wishful thinking by someone who imagines that if only we wished hard enough these issues would go away. It’s just not the way reality works. In some ways, ignoring the commentary was the best approach."

In his closing statement, Lively quoted from the book of Corinthians in the Bible whichs says in some English translations that homosexuals will not inheret the kingdom of God.

Candidate Steve Grossman (D) responded:

"Giving another part of the Bible equal time, Deuteronomy 16:20 says 'Justice, justice, thou shall pursue'." 3

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2014-JUN-19: Multiple countries cut financial aid to Uganda in response to the anti-gay law:

A number of western countries, including the U.S., cut their aid to Uganda by a total of about U.S.$118 million in response to the new anti-gay law.

On JUN-19, the U.S. imposed visa restrictions on Ugandans who have been involved in human rights violations, including limits on LGBT rights. The U.S. also cancelled a regional military exercise. The White House said that the moves were intended to:

"... reinforce our support for human rights of all Ugandans regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."

The U.S. will also terminate US $2.4 million for a community policing program in Uganda because of a police raid at a U.S. funded health program at Makerere University, and because of abuse of people in police custody.

A government spokesman, Ofwono Opondo, said:

"Uganda is a sovereign country and can never bow to anybody or be blackmailed by anybody on a decision it took in its interests, even if it involves threats to cut off all financial assistance." 4

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signs anti-gay bill," BBC, 2014-FEB-24, at:
  2. "Uganda gays face life in prison under law," PBS, 2014-JUN-15, at:
  3. Shira Schoenberg, "Anti-gay pastor Scott Lively of Springfield makes his presence known at Boston gubernatorial forum; other candidates cite support for gay rights," Mass Live, at:
  4. "U.S. cuts aid to Uganda, cancels military exercise over anti-gay law." Reuters, 2014-JUN-19, at:

Copyright © 2014 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2014-JUN-29
Latest update: 2014-JUN-29
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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