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Uganda to consider anti-homosexuality bill Friday; death penalty clause dropped

Wednesday, May 11, 2011
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Amid global criticism of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill — dubbed the “Kill the Gays’ bill — proponents have removed a controversial death penalty clause, however the proposed legislation likely still includes the criminalization of all homosexual acts.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The bill was to be debated Wednesday, the last day of the current parliament, but was dropped from the agenda. There were reports it might be debated in an extraordinary sitting of parliament Friday.

If not, the bill can be reintroduced when the new parliament convenes. [...]

Although the bill’s author, lawmaker David Bahati, announced that the death penalty had been removed from the bill, no new version has been publicly released.

U.S. leaders and LGBT advocacy groups have denounced the bill, and internet petitions have gathered more than 1.4 million signatures.

The proposed legislation, in its orginal form, called for the death penalty for active homosexuals living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape. “Serial offenders” also would face capital punishment. Anyone convicted of a homosexual act would face life imprisonment.

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 LGBT, or who supports the human rights of people who are.

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), said in a statement on Tuesday he was disturbed that Ugandans were again discussing the bill.

Frank said if it becomes law that he would urge the U.S. government to oppose any aid to Uganda from international institutions that the U.S. belongs to, such as the World Bank and African Development Bank.

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