- Ugandan rights activists have pleaded with the parliament on Monday to reject an anti-gay bill which pronounces harsh punishment for people who would be caught practicing homosexuality.
Local reports said around 400 activists presented the parliament speaker Edward Ssekandi with a petition, criticising the bill as a violation of Uganda's constitution.
"The bill is not about protecting Ugandan culture and traditions as it purports. On the contrary it is violating our cultures, traditions and religious values that teach against intolerance, injustice, hatred and violence," one of the activists, Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha, said.
The bill, which has sparked widespread international condemnation, would criminalise public discussion of homosexuality and could penalise an individual who knowingly rents property to a homosexual.
It also calls for the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality", in cases of rape of a minor by a person of the same sex, or where one partner carries the virus that can cause AIDS.
The activists said the bill threatens the health, peace and the well-being of Ugandan citizens and goes against the Ugandan constitution which provides for freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, colour and ethnicity.
Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, punishable by life imprisonment in some instances.
President Yoweri Museveni recently asked parliament to go slow on the bill because it had foreign policy implications and promised his cabinet would meet David Bahati, the MP who tabled the bill, to discuss how to handle it.
Homosexuality is deeply unpopular in Uganda's conservative society and although the harsh punishments proposed for gay people have provoked international outrage, many Ugandans see them as necessary to deter what they say is undesirable western moral influence.
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