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Uganda lawmakers vow swift re-enactment of anti-gay law

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
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KAMPALA, Uganda — Just days after a Uganda court in Uganda declared the country’s controversial Anti-Homosexuality law unconstitutional, Members of Parliament are already vowing to reintroduce the same bill in for enactment.

UgandaA panel of five judges on the East African country’s Constitutional Court ruled Friday the measure, passed December 20 and signed into law in February, is illegal because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum.

The law provided jail terms up to life for those convicted of engaging in gay sex. It also allowed lengthy jail terms for those convicted of the offenses of “attempted homosexuality” as well as “promotion of homosexuality.”

On Tuesday, members of parliament supporting a new version of the measure held a press conference to announce that they would try to push a nearly identical version of the law through parliament within the next three days, reports The Washington Post.

The legislators claim to have nearly 100 of their colleagues signed up for the newest attempt to pass the law, according to government watchdog site Parliament Watch.

The latest version of the law would look similar to the old law, however, there could be one addition this time: Parlimentarian Nabilah Naggayi Sempala said at the news conference that she’d also like to see the law criminalize the act of heterosexual anal intercourse.

The country’s top Anglican leader also called for the law to be reinstated. On Monday, Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali said the law was needed to “protect” Ugandans.

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Although the legislation has wide support in Uganda, it has been condemned in the West and rights groups have described it as draconian.

The measure was enacted on Feb. 24 by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who said he wanted to deter Western groups from promoting homosexuality among African children.

Some European countries and the World Bank withheld aid over the law, piling pressure on Uganda’s government, which depends on Western support to implement a substantial part of its budget. Ofwono Opondo, a Ugandan government spokesman, had repeatedly described Western action over the law as “blackmail.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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