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Uganda debates anti-homosexuality bill; vote in parliament possible this week

Uganda debates anti-homosexuality bill; vote in parliament possible this week

A Ugandan parliament committee on Monday held a second day of hearings on an anti-homosexuality bill that attracted worldwide condemnation for its harsh penalties, which include a death penalty provision.

Lawmakers indicated the bill could be voted on this week, the Associated Press reported.

The bill’s author, David Bahati, told The Associated Press last month that the death penalty provision in the bill was “something we have moved away from.” The bill is now undergoing debate and negotiations, so a new version would likely be presented before a final vote is held.

One of the bill’s backers, an anti-gay pastor named Martin Ssempa, told the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on Monday that he does not support the death penalty provision. He said instead that gays should face up to seven years in prison.

The proposed legislation, in its current form, calls 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.

The measure, referred to as the “Kill The Gays” bill, was proposed 18 months ago by Bahati, but has languished in committee ever since. In an interview with AP last month, Bahati said if the parliament committee the bill recommends that the death penalty provision be removed, he would “concede.”

The parliament’s session ends May 12, but Bahati said the bill can be dealt with on next session if time runs out. has an online petition demanding that Ugandan President Museveni publicly vow to veto the bill.

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