For the second day in a row, a Ugandan parliamentary committee discussed a bill that might mandate the death penalty for anyone convicted of the “crime” of homosexuality. If signed into law, the “Kill the Gays” bill—drafted by politician David Mahati and supported by religious leaders including Martin Ssempa—might also hand down death sentences for anyone convicted of same-sex rape, anyone classified as a “serial offender,” and possibly even anyone who has HIV.
The bill was first proposed two years ago but made little progress after a lot of people worldwide complained that, ya know, killing gay people is wrong.
Not everyone agrees.
“The parliament should be given the opportunity to discuss and pass the bill, because homosexuality is killing our society,” Ssempa told the Parliamentary committee.
According to the Associated Press, Ssempa and Bahiti might support removing the death penalty provision and replacing it with a mandatory seven-year prison sentence. (Progress!) But according to another possible provision, anyone who “aids, abets, counsels, or procures another to engage of acts of homosexuality” would also face seven years in prison, as would landlords who rent rooms or homes to homosexuals.
In short, just about everyone would be eligible for prison, including doctors and nurses who don’t turn in patients who suffer from HIV.
Homosexuality is highly unpopular in Uganda, and pastors in this Christian country speak out loudly against the practice, the AP reports.
Frank Mugisha, the director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a gay-rights group, told the Associated Press that if parliament takes up the bill he believes it will be passed. However, parliament’s session ends this week and it is not clear if there is enough time to deal with the legislation this session.
Bahati has said the bill can be dealt with next session if parliament runs out of time.
(Photo: San Diego Gay and Lesbian News)