Anti-Homosexual Bill In Uganda Causes Global Uproar

The bill creates a new category of crime called "Aggravated Homosexuality," which calls for death by hanging for gays or lesbians who have sex with anyone under 18 and for so-called "serial offenders."

The bill also calls for seven years in prison for "attempt to commit homosexuality," five years for landlords who knowingly house gays, three years for anyone, including parents, who fail to hand gay children over to the police within 24 hours and the extradition of gay Ugandans living abroad.

The bill's sponsor, David Bahati, now insists the death penalty only applies to homosexual pedophiles.

"The whole thing has been distorted, " he said. "And we know that some copies of the bill have been circulated on the Internet, which are incorrect."

Bahati defends the bill's stringency. "Well it can sound tough to some people but it's acceptable to our community here. Remember that here in Uganda, 95 percent of our population does not support homosexuality."

"But also we know that we live in a global family where in America they accept homosexuality as a human right. In Uganda we don't. In America, it is illegal to be a polygamist. Here in Uganda, it is cherished in some cultures. So that is the nature of the global family," he said.

"So things that are acceptable in some societies are not acceptable in others. But we have mutual respect. But this bill was proposed by Ugandans for Ugandans. We think it is good for us, we think it is good for Uganda."

Gay Ugandans Speak Out

Val Kalende, a lesbian, said it's dangerous just to walk down the street. "Just the other day a colleague of mine was detained and questioned by police," she said. "Every time you come back home safe, you thank God you are safe. But then you don't know what's going to happen the next day."

Kalende said that while Uganda has always been a homophobic country, things got worse after the conference the American evangelicals spoke at.

"So those guys should be held accountable for what is happening to us," she said. "And I hope that the people in America can hold these guys accountable for what is going to happen to us if this bill ever passes."

Gay-rights groups and governments all over the world are up in arms over the proposed bill. President Obama has called it "odious", and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a call to the Ugandan president urging him to table it.

The American evangelicals who spoke at that event in Uganda back in March are now rushing to distance themselves from the bill.

"I do not agree with that bill at all," said Brundidge. "That's not why I went there at all."

Lively also claims he had no idea the bill was coming, and denies any responsibility for it, despite the fact that he compared his visit to Uganda to a nuclear bomb exploding.

"I'm proud of that, and I hope that the nuclear bomb spreads across the whole world, against the gay movement " he said. "Against this attempt to overthrow the family-based society and replace it with sexual anarchy. That's harmful to everyone. That doesn't mean I hate homosexuals. That doesn't mean I want everyone to be thrown in jail."

And he repudiated the notion that he empowered the Ugandan parliament to introduce the legislation. "Do you think that these people did not already have an opinion, a strong opinion, on homosexuality?" he asked. "It's a very racist perspective. It's the colonial mind-set all over again."

That's an argument echoed by the main proponents of the bill in Uganda.

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