UK
20/12/2013 08:30 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 01:38 GMT

Uganda Passes Anti-Gay Law Punishable By Life In Prison

Ugandan MP David Bahati said the vote was a triumph against 'evil'
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ugandan MP David Bahati said the vote was a triumph against 'evil'

The Ugandan parliament on Friday passed an anti-homosexuality bill that will see repeat “offenders” jailed for life.

MP David Bahati was behind the bill and told the AFP: “This is a victory for Uganda. I am glad the parliament has voted against evil.

“Because we are a God-fearing nation, we value life in a holistic way. It is because of those values that members of parliament passed this bill regardless of what the outside world thinks.”

"I am officially illegal," Ugandan gay activist Frank Mugisha said after the vote.

Bahati initially proposed legislation in 2009, and was pushing for the death penalty.

But last year he performed something of a U-turn and claimed the bill would instead focus on protecting children from gay pornography, banning gay marriage, counselling gays and punishing those who promote gay culture.

In 2012 Uganda's speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga, said Ugandans were "demanding" the law and its passage would serve as a "Christmas gift" to its advocates.

Ugandan law previously punished homosexuality by up to 14 years in jail.

On Friday leading gay rights charity Stonewall told HuffPost UK: "Today’s news that the Ugandan parliament has approved the infamous anti-gay bill is both shocking and deeply saddening.

"This is a huge setback to LGBT activists in Uganda who now face life in prison simply for how they were born. We’ll continue to support LGBT activists in the country and we hope everyone in Britain stands in solidarity with their struggle."

Labour MP Diane Abbott told PinkNews.co.uk: “This really is dreadful news that has come from Uganda today, especially when it comes just days after the death of Nelson Mandela, who stood up for the rights of all including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“Now we have an African country going backwards on this important human rights issue. This new law is a licence for more killings and brutality.”

President Yoweri Museveni must sign the bill before it becomes law.

Museveni has previously been quoted in the past as saying: "If there are some homosexuals, we shall not kill or persecute them but there should be no promotion of homosexuality.

"We cannot accept promotion of homosexuality as if it is a good thing."

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