February 9, 2012, New York, NY – In response to Tuesday’s reintroduction in the Ugandan parliament of a bill that would require the death penalty for consensual sex between persons of the same gender, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
The Center for Constitutional Rights strongly condemns the reintroduction, purportedly in its original form, of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. This bill would impose the death penalty for a second conviction of sex between two people of the same gender, or for a single conviction of an HIV-positive person having sex with a person of the same gender. Anyone convicted of a single homosexual act would face life imprisonment. The bill would further require family members, medical personnel, clergy and others to report to the authorities people they suspect of being gay, or face substantial prison time themselves. The bill would also completely ban activities which could be construed as “promoting homosexuality,” such as writing, speaking, demonstrating or otherwise advocating for LGBTI rights. Landlords who rent to LGBTI persons would face seven years in prison.Originally introduced in 2009, the bill was later shelved amid international outcry and a brave and inspiring grassroots response in Uganda led by the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). The bill’s sponsor, anti-gay parliamentarian David Bahati, has received training from a U.S.-based right-wing evangelical network. The “Kill the Gays” bill emerged after a controversial 2009 meeting in Kampala attended by U.S.-based evangelical Scott Lively, who has compared the effect of his work there to a “nuclear bomb.”This bill is part of a broader context of oppression and violence against LGBTI people in Uganda. Homosexuality is already a crime there, and the persecution of Ugandans on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity has already cost lives and given rise to grave human rights violations. The reintroduction of this bill – regardless of whether it ultimately becomes law – serves to intensify this climate of hatred and persecution of the Ugandan LGBTI community.The Center for Constitutional Rights stands with SMUG and all friends and colleagues in Uganda fighting for the rights of LGBTI people, and we join international calls for the “Kill the Gays” bill to be stopped once and for all.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.
December 12, 2013