MPs in Uganda look set to drop their controversial ‘Kill The Gays’ bill which proposed introducing the death sentence for what they describe as “aggravated homosexuality”.
The ‘Kill The Gays’ bill has caused an international uproar and today there were demonstrations outside the Ugandan embassy in Washington.
The original anti-gay bill called for the the death penalty for “serial offenders”, for active homosexuals living with HIV, and for same-sex rape. On Monday, the Ugandan Parliament convened a committee hearing to discuss the bill.
“The parliament should be given the opportunity to discuss and pass the bill, because homosexuality is killing our society,” said pastor Martin Ssempa, who is backing the ‘Kill The Gays Bill.
However Ssempa now appears to have backed down, saying that gays should face imprisonment rather than the death penalty.
Similarly, David Bahati, the Ugandan MP who proposed the private member’s bill, told Associated Press last month that the death penalty provision was “something we have moved away from”.
When the ‘Kill The Gays’ bill first surfaced, it caused international uproar and several Western donor nations threatened to curtail or withdraw their aid to Uganda if it passed into law.
Activist Michael Dixon warned, “The Ugandan parliament is contemplating genocide for its LGBT citizens. It is important that they know that the entire world is watching them.”
However the bill has considerable support among Uganda’s conservative 85% Christian population.
In October last year, a Ugandan tabloid newspaper Rolling Stone (no relation to the American publication of the same name) published a list of the country’s “top 100 homosexuals” complete with photographs, addresses, and the sheadline “Hang Them”.
One of those named in trolling Stone’s list, gay-rights activist David Kato, was beaten to death with a hammer in January in his home town of Mukono.