Uganda To Pass Harsh Anti-Gay Legislation

While not exactly an advocate for the gay and lesbian community, I find it outrageous that Uganda should be voting on whether to make consensual gay and lesbian relationships punishable by up to life in prison.  Homosexuality is already illegal in the east African nation but lawmakers are proposing even harsher sentences.  However, the sentence of death was removed from the final bill to be presented to parliament for debate and final approval.  It’s difficult to comprehend that in a backwards, third world country like Uganda, the issue of homosexuality should even be on the agenda.  There are so many other pressing issues that need to be addressed.  Amnesty International responded by reminding the Ugandan leadership that, “This bill violates the principle of nondiscrimination as guaranteed under international and regional treaties to which Uganda is a party.  Noel Kututwa, Amnesty International’s director for southern Africa stated, “We are outraged, this goes beyond the principle of nondiscrimination. It goes against the principle of privacy of individuals. And sexual orientation is really a question of the right of an individual to choose how they want to live their lives.”  What this legislation does essentially, is give homophobic individuals the license to attack and even kill people, based on their sexual orientation.  David Kato, a gay rights activist was murdered in Uganda in 2011 in what was believed to be a biased crime.  In 2009, when this legislation was first proposed, world leaders condemned the anti-gay legislation, threatening to withhold aid if legislation was approved.  Should the bill be passed as now proposed, all international aid should indeed cease.  Anti-gay violence has escalated at an alarming rate throughout the African continent and is the direct result of backwards, antiquated, uneducated thinking.  It’s the reason, that despite what some would lead us to believe, Africa is still living in the dark ages.  Starvation, illiteracy, and poverty will continue to be the fate of the African countries until it’s people are able to rise up and join the international community of civilized nations.

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