- The Ugandan legislator who proposed the anti gay bill has rejected the call to withdraw the highly contentious bill despites government efforts to review it.
Uganda’s authorities had said the country would review the proposed bill which has drawn international criticism, further stating that it would tarnish its reputation if it would be passed into a law.
Member of Parliament, David Bahati, defended his stance saying the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is essential to protect Uganda’s future generation from being recruited into homosexuality.
The proposed bill states that anyone convicted of a homosexual act including touching someone of the same sex with the intent of committing a homosexual act would face life in prison.
Gay rights activists had said the bill promotes hatred and could set back efforts to combat HIV/AIDS in the conservative East African country.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which Mr Bahati proposed in September, has provoked criticism and protests internationally, including in the United States and United Kingdom where both liberal and conservative church leaders have expressed their opposition including rights organisations.
Mr Bahati insists that the proposed law is based on the foundations of "strengthening the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family and to protect the cherished culture of the people of Uganda, legal, religious, and traditional family values.
In October, the Ugandan Clergy appealed to the government to scrape the death penalty in the Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009 and rather opt for life imprisonment.
The Clergy from dominant religious groups in the country said killing homosexuals does not serve the purpose of signaling the wrong doing, but the government should rather leave them to rot in jail.
Once the bill is passed into law, anyone found practicing homosexuality will face 14 years in prison whereas those found guilty of operating brothels where homosexuals meet will also be liable to 14 years imprisonment.
The offenders would face death for having sex with a minor or a disabled person, or for infecting their partners with HIV.
Pressure has been mounting from outside the continent for the past two years to introduce the same rights for homosexuals. There are more than 500,000 homosexuals in Uganda in a country of 30 million.
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