Uganda bill enforcing death penalty for homosexuality is “likely to pass”

This is just horrendous. There’s been a bill pending in Uganda, now being considered “likely to pass,” which could potentially enforce the death penalty on “serial offenders” of homosexuality. Reuters reports:

Activists and political observers expect the private members’ bill, which proscribes the death penalty for “serial offenders” and is still in the committee stage, to pass with little opposition and some minor changes.
Likely changes may include modifying the death penalty to life imprisonment, altering clauses nullifying international treaties, conventions and protocols that contradict the act, and removing a section about extradition.
“It’s catastrophic,” said Frank Mugisha, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a local activist group.
“People are being arrested, intimidated already. What’s going to happen if it’s passed?”

We find this via Towleroad, which also reports that Sweden has announced they will be cutting aid to Uganda over the bill, while American public figures like Rick Warren (yeah, the pastor Obama chose for inauguration) are involved in the anti-LGBT efforts there.
Angelican church leader Canon Gideon Byamugisha, a prominent religious leader in Uganda, called this bill out on what it is: “state-legislated genocide.”

Take action against
this heinous, heinous bill.

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29 Comments

  1. Toongrrl
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    This news is just too
    depressing. I watched that on the
    Rachel Maddow Show and I was just
    stunned, but I wasn’t surprised to
    learn that the American Christian
    far-right was behind this evil
    law. Rick Warren is like this
    nasal congestion I have right
    now: coming back to make misery.

  2. ScottRock
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Just a reminder that the lawmaker behind this (David Bahati) is allegedly a member of “the Family,” aka “the Fellowship,” aka “the C-Street Christian Brothel.” US Members include John Ensign, Mark Sanford, Tom Coburn, and Bart Stupak.

  3. cattrack2
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    This is horrific. Not that they have a lot of teeth but I hope we get a UN Sec’y Resolution out of this. Perhaps some trade embargoes or some such for whatever they’re worth. This is unadulterated evil.

  4. rustyspoons
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Truly sickening. Putting someone to death for their sexuality? It’s horrendous.

  5. Alexis
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    These are the moments when I feel completely helpless and impotent. This is so overwhelmingly awful that I just want to stop it, but what am I supposed to do? It’s on the other side of the world. When I hear about international atrocities like this, I feel the hopelessness that causes a lot of people to become apathetic–there’s nothing I can do, what am I supposed to do? I wish there were something drastic, and I wish horrible things like this would stop happening, but I just don’t know what to do to stop them.

  6. DeafBrownTrash
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Why can’t these awful right-wing American Christian hypocrites (behind the death bill campaign) get arrested by U.N Human Rights Council?
    Isn’t this AGAINST THE FUCKING LAW?!?!?!

  7. Alessa
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    The Nazis thought they were righteous as well.
    This is just as evil as the holocaust.
    There are absolutely no words. I cannot comprehend the vile monstrosity of these powerful people.
    This is a more important issue than any political bullshit going on in our country right now. This needs to be stopped now, there is absolutely no excuse for sitting back and saying “Oh well”.

  8. paperispatient
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Is there anything else we can do in addition to signing the change.org petition? I know the power petitions can exert but at the same time that feels woefully inadequate in the face of genocide.

  9. daveNYC
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Start working on a Plan B in case (OK, when) the law passes. There will probably be a bunch of Ugandans looking to get out of the country when this passes. State and Imigration are two departments that might be able to help out with that. Especially since the HIV ban is on the way out.

  10. Andrew
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    When the article says “proscribes”, I gather from the reactions here that the author means “prescribes”. Is that the case?

  11. Anne
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been following this over on Pam’s House Blend and I’ve been horrified at every turn. It gets worse, and worse, and worse. The death penalty is prescribed (which is definitely what was meant in the story, per Andrew) for “aggravated homosexuality”, which translates to having sex with someone of the same gender while HIV+ or while one partner is under 18, and life imprisonment is prescribed for being gay. Advocacy of LGBT rights is punishable by seven years imprisonment.
    It’s insane that, in this day and age, we can be having a serious conversation about a law like this. A small (colonial and privileged) part of me wants to say, “What can we expect from the country that gave us Idi Amin?” But I know better, and I can only hope that there are enough non-bigots in enough influential positions that this fails of passage. Barring that, I hope some sort of escape network can be organized (per daveNYC). I know I’ll be writing to my Representative, and I hope others will too. Attention must be paid.

  12. history punk
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Under the convention on genocide signed by the United States, this in fact is genocide and the United States is mandated to respond to prevent and, if that fails, to punish genocide.
    The most effective deterrent to genocide is military force, which the American Left is notoriously squeamish about and the American Right is unlikely to approve given what it would targeting. This reality means that little will happen. There will be protests, solidarity, and probably a boycott. These things were tried with Bosnia, Kosovo, and other locations to little effect despite massive American government backing in the first two instances.
    Also, for the liberal religious and their apologists, just keep in mind that Uganda action is 100% biblically correct. Unlike your vaguely formed and informed notions of tolerance which are the product of improved secular morality than any teaching of Christ, the Bible clearly states that gay and lesbian people get the death penalty.

  13. Audentia
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    “the Bible clearly states that gay and lesbian people get the death penalty.”
    The Bible doesn’t say squat about lesbians.
    (actually…the very idea of “gay and lesbian people” is anachronistic in a biblical context, as there was not an idea of “a gay man” in the premodern world. However, even if we just consider homosexual sexual activity…the passage you’re referring to says nothing about lesbians).

  14. daveNYC
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Hate to say it, but under Article Two of the U.N. Convention on Genocide, ‘sexual orientation’ is not mentioned as a protected group. Of course we haven’t gotten off our duffs and done much even in cases like Darfur, when it actually was genocide as defined by treaty.
    Nice touch with the random religeon bashing at the end of your post. I’m actually pretty sure that if you stuck by everything in the Old Testament, then the population of the Earth would be about zero. The list of Thou Shalt Not’s that came with a stoning was pretty long.
    The icing on the cake is that any boycott will probably be ineffective. Their exports are pretty much crap (mostly raw materials, handicrafts, coffee/tea/cotton, basic foodstuffs), and to really put the kybosh on any boycott impact, the big news is that they have potentially discovered major new oil reserves. Snowball’s chance in Hell of changing their behavior if they have petrodollars backing them.
    Skip hoping for the best, and go directly to planning for the worst.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/katine/2009/dec/02/oil-benefits-rural-uganda

  15. ekpe
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    This is going to be one of those laws passed that will never be implemented. Like the sharia laws in northern Nigeria this stuff is political. No homosexuals will be killed in Uganda. Of course the idea of this passing is a clear rejection of homosexuals but outside of somalia these laws just rot on the books.

  16. Anne
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    While Dave’s right that sanctions probably won’t work, and you’re probably right that it’s a political stunt to one-up everyone else by being more of a homophobe, do we want to take a chance on that? Uganda (according to Pew Global) is strongly anti-gay in general, with 96% of respondents saying that homosexuality should be rejected by society. I think that we need to be prepared, at least, for the possibility that this really will occur. (That having been said, I don’t really know what we CAN do, beyond writing irate letters. But there must be something. We can’t just stand by and wait for it to happen.)

  17. BruceWilson
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a new report, from Talk2action.org, that exposes how Rick Warren’s openly theocratic PhD advisor Peter Wagner describes Warren’s approach as “stage one” in an attempt to impose global Christian theocracy.
    http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/12/4/134435/084
    Knowledge is power.

  18. BruceWilson
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    David Bahati is also a member of the Atlanta-based “College of Prayer.”
    See: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/12/4/134435/084/

  19. Oshaberi
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    That would be nice, if no gay people will ever be killed in Uganda ever again.
    It would be a change for the better!
    Maybe if we’re *really* lucky they’ll no longer be sentenced to life in prison either!
    Or beaten, or tortured, or harassed, or have to flee the country for their life!
    Gosh, I certainly hope so! ^_^

  20. history punk
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Dave,
    “I’m actually pretty sure that if you stuck by everything in the Old Testament, then the population of the Earth would be about zero. The list of Thou Shalt Not’s that came with a stoning was pretty long. ”
    I know that which is why I give little countance to what the Old Testament morality. I don’t pretend that it says something good by use of tortured logic

  21. history punk
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Dave,
    “I’m actually pretty sure that if you stuck by everything in the Old Testament, then the population of the Earth would be about zero. The list of Thou Shalt Not’s that came with a stoning was pretty long. ”
    I know that which is why I give little countance to what the Old Testament morality. I don’t pretend that it says something good by use of tortured logic

  22. James
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Also, for the liberal religious and their apologists, just keep in mind that Uganda action is 100% biblically correct. Unlike your vaguely formed and informed notions of tolerance which are the product of improved secular morality than any teaching of Christ, the Bible clearly states that gay and lesbian people get the death penalty.
    The Old Testament states that a lot of people get the death penalty – including children who disrespect their parents, people who break Shabbat, and idol worshipers. The New Testament has a different opinion on the matter… which is kind of the whole point of the New Testament. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
    We “liberal religious and [our] apologists” – who you snidely dismiss with an attitude that would garner a multitude of angry and offended comments were it directed at anyone else – are getting along just fine here, thankyouverymuch, with absolutely no cognitive dissonance. Our religious beliefs and our acceptance and love of others aren’t just compatible… our religious beliefs demand acceptance and love of others. It’s a shame our more conservative brothers and sisters can’t see that, but we’ll keep working on them.

  23. James
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA – Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori – has issued a statement calling on the State Department to offer asylum to those fleeing persecution on account of their sexual orientation or gender identity:

    We urge the United States government to grant adequate access to the U.S. asylum system for those fleeing persecution on the basis of homosexuality or gender identity, to work with other governments, international organizations, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide adequate protection for these asylum seekers, and to oppose any attempts at extradition under a law such as that proposed in Uganda.

    Hopefully Secretary Clinton and the State Department will heed her call.

  24. Nelly Tay
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    Oh my God… there are no words for this kind of evil.

  25. makomk
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Yep. Unfortunately, these Christian theocratic movement have a lot of followers, especially in the US. As the article you linked suggests, they’re basically forming a parallel economy and society based on this totalitarian version of Christianity – very effectively, in fact, since once you’re in leaving is not a real option.

  26. Toongrrl
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Bruce for the link. I can
    vividly see where Rick Warren is
    coming from. I think that man is
    obsessed with Hitler, Lenin, and
    Mao. I am scared out of my wits

  27. history punk
    Posted December 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    That is an interesting interpretation of Christianity, Audentia. May I ask how you were able to discern the truth about this and the leading figures of Christian thought were not?

  28. Ruth787
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    God, my heart aches for Uganda. Decades after independence and they are still being victimized by the West. The only way to fix this is by helping the next generation start on the right path–which is difficult given the absolute epidemic of child soldiering in the north, effectively stealing the futures of the boys and girls caught in the conflict. While this is horrendous it is really just one more symptom of the disease that has eaten at Uganda since Idi Amin and even before. Invisible Children is an organization I’ve worked with since I was 18; if you’re interested in helping the children of Uganda (especially northern Uganda and the Gulu area), or want to get informed, visit their website.

  29. AnnieM
    Posted December 6, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Is there any way to sign the petition if you are not american? I tried and couldn’t enter in a state address, so it wouldn’t let me sign it?

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