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Uganda’s infamous ‘Kill the Gays’ bill reintroduced in parliament

Tuesday, February 7, 2012
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Uganda’s infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill — dubbed the “Kill the Gays” bill — was reintroduced in parliament on Tuesday. The original version of the bill, first introduced in 2009, included harsh penalties, including the the death penalty for some homosexual acts.

The bill, authored by MP David Bahati, was intended to strengthen Uganda’s already-harsh laws against homosexuality, but instead received worldwide condemnation from many countries including the U.S., and LGBT and human rights advocacy groups.

Though widely supported in Uganda, the bill’s has remained in limbo since last May, when parliament adjourned without debating or voting on the controversial bill.

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.

Bahati had announced last year that the death penalty clause had been removed from the bill, although no new version was ever publicly released.

Uganda is one of more than 35 African nations that have outlawed homosexuality.

Human rights activists say Uganda, with a population of 31 million, has an estimated 500,000 gays and lesbians, and that the LGBT community continues to live in fear.

Bahati has said that homosexuality poses a serious threat to family values and that his bill has helped raise public awareness about what he calls “the dangers to our children.”

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