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Ugandans won’t be celebrating Christmas with new anti-gay law

Ugandans won’t be celebrating Christmas with new anti-gay law
LGBT rights activists protest Uganda's anti-gay law in London in January after lawmakers passed the measure without a quorum.
LGBT rights activists protest Uganda’s anti-gay law in London in January after lawmakers passed an earlier version of the bill that was later overturned because lawmakers lacked a quorum. Peter Tatchell Foundation

KAMPALA, Uganda — Uganda’s parliament adjourned on Friday without passing a new version of the anti-LGBT law that was struck down by the country’s Constitutional Court in August, reports BuzzFeed News.

A new version of the “Anti-Homosexuality” bill was said to be in “advanced stages” last month, and with overwhelming support of the country’s lawmakers, Ugandan lawmaker Latif Ssebaggala said he hoped the bill would introduced for debate before Christmas.

Ssebaggala told BuzzFeed News that he had the support of more than 250 of Parliament’s 383 members, and said last month that he wanted Ugandans to be able to “celebrate” passage of a new law “as a Christmas gift.”

The bill was first approved on Dec. 20, 2013 and signed into law in February by President Yoweri Museveni.

But in August, a panel of five judges on the East African country’s Constitutional Court ruled that the measure was illegal because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum.

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The court did not rule on the substance of the law, which allowed terms of up to life for homosexual offenses, leaving the door open for lawmakers to introduce a new version of the bill.

Museveni has since said anti-gay legislation threatens the country’s economic ties with the West, warning that resurrecting the law would risk access to a rich export market.

After Museveni signed the first bill in February, the U.S., the World Bank and some European countries delayed or redirected tens of millions of dollars in funding to Uganda’s government, which depends on foreign aid to implement about 20 percent of its budget.

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