Uganda‘s infamous anti-homosexuality measure — euphemistically referred to as the “Kill The Gays” bill — that was scheduled to undergo debate in that country’s Law and Parliamentary Affairs committee this week, has apparently been shelved.
Late Thursday, Ugandan Information Minister Masiko Kabakumba, appearing on Ugandan NTV, announced that the administration of President Yoweri Museveni had made the determination that the measure was redundant in consideration of existing laws already criminalizing homosexuality.
“We had the Cabinet Subcommittee which gave us a report yesterday and we did realize that there are many things that are in the bill that are covered by other laws that are already in place,” Kabakumba told NTV. “And the law that is in offing, the Sexual Offenses Bill, will cover most of the other issues that were going to be covered.”
Member of Parliament, David Bahati, the bill’s main sponsor, appeared unwilling to back down, telling NTV that “95%” of Ugandans do not support homosexuality, a claim that Kabakumba did not challenge.
“Of course we are concerned,” Kabakumba said. “We don’t condone homosexuality in our country.”
Under the proposed legislation, gays could be punished with life imprisonment or the death penalty for certain homosexual behavior. The bill could also lead to the imprisonment for up to three years of anyone, including heterosexual people, who fail to report within 24 hours the identities of anyone they know who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or who supports the human rights of people who are.
Warren Throckmorton, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Grove City College, who has closely monitored events in Uganda, reported that Bahati has been assured by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee chair Stephen Tashobya that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will be debated in the committee.
The Ugandan government has come under increased international pressure because of the legislation.
Earlier this week, the United States, which led the effort at the United Nations Human Rights Council for a resolution signed by 85 countries to end violence against LGBT people, expressed displeasure with Uganda over the measure’s draconian provisions.