Monday, December 23, 2013

Uganda Anti Gay Law Passes


While the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled for gay marriage & a Utah Federal Court ruled that the state’s ban of marriage equality was unconstitutional, Uganda passed their homophobic anti gay law. The notorious “Kill The Gays Bill” passed replacing the death penalty with life in prison. The new anti-gay law violates Article 21 of the Ugandan constitution & Articles 2 & 3 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights - both of which guarantee equal treatment & non-discrimination to all people. Gay activist Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation stated, “The Bill extends the existing penalty of life imprisonment for same sex intercourse to all other same sex behavior, including the mere touching of another person with the intent to have homosexual relations. Life imprisonment is also the penalty for contracting a same sex marriage. Promoting homosexuality & aiding & abetting others to commit homosexual acts will be punishable by 5 to 7 years jail. These new crimes are likely to include membership & funding of LGBT organizations, advocacy of LGBT human rights, supportive counseling of LGBT persons and the provision of condoms or safer sex advice to LGBT people. A person in authority – gay or heterosexual - who fails to report violators to the police within 24 hours will be sentenced to 3 years behind bars. Astonishingly, the new legislation has an extra-territorial jurisdiction. It will also apply to Ugandan citizens or foreign residents of Uganda who commit these 'crimes' while abroad, in countries where such behavior is not a criminal offence. Violators overseas will be subjected to extradition, trial & punishment in Uganda. This bill is in some respects even more draconian than the extreme homophobic laws of countries like Saudi Arabia & Iran.” So while we move forward in the USA with LGBT equality we still have an enormous amount of work globally.
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