Uganda has had laws on the books criminalizing same-sex acts for over a century. Yesterday (March 21), the east African nation took it a step further as lawmakers voted to ban identifying as LGBTQ, deeming it a promotion of gay identity.
The Ugandan parliament overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Anti-Homosexuality Act with only two out of nearly 400 representatives standing up against it.
“Congratulations,” Speaker Anita Among said during the proceedings, per NPR. “Whatever we are doing, we are doing it for the people of Uganda.”
“Our creator God is happy [about] what is happening,” lawmaker David Bahati added, according to Reuters. “I support the bill to protect the future of our children.”
Uganda, like most former British colonies, has outlawed same-sex intercourse since its occupation. But the new law goes much further than the previously established restrictions and is among some of the most oppressive pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation on the planet. Anyone who identifies as gay or queer will be subject to up to 20 years behind bars, which will likely include any people or advocacy groups seen as promoting these identities. Homosexual relations remain a crime punishable with up to life in prison, though some instances of broadly defined “aggravated homosexuality” can warrant the death penalty.
Sadly, Uganda isn’t alone on the continent; homosexuality is criminalized in more than 30 of Africa’s 54 countries. It’s also not the first time in recent years that the government has passed anti-gay legislation. In 2014, a similar law was put into place, though it was eventually struck down by the courts on procedural grounds following outrage in the country and from international donors. Human Rights Watch called the new legislation a “more egregious version” of that act.
After yesterday’s decision, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken decried the bill, saying it “would undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans.” He added in his tweet, seen below, “We urge the Ugandan Government to strongly reconsider the implementation of this legislation.”
The Anti-Homosexuality Act passed by the Ugandan Parliament yesterday would undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We urge the Ugandan Government to strongly reconsider the implementation of this legislation.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 22, 2023
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk blasted the vote as a “deeply troubling development.”
“If signed into law by the president, it will render lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in Uganda criminals simply for existing, for being who they are,” he said. “It could provide carte blanche for the systematic violation of nearly all of their human rights and serve to incite people against each other.”
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has previously spoken in support of the new Anti-Homosexuality Act and is expected to sign it into law.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
B. Simone vs. Desi Banks | 'Receipts'
On this episode of “Receipts,” Desi Banks puts his friendship with comedian and entrepreneur B. Simone to the test when they battle it out to guess contestant Darrius’ hidden talent. Presented by Walmart.
Desi Banks vs. Eric Bellinger | 'Receipts'
Get ready for “Receipts,” the all-new game show brought to you by REVOLT and Walmart where contestants battle it out to reveal a Black and Unlimited shopper’s hidden talent from clues on their shopping receipt! For the premiere, host Desi Banks goes three rounds with the one and only Eric Bellinger. Watch!
B. Simone and Desi Banks go head-to-head on “Receipts” game show
After a few pleasantries, Desi Banks and B. Simone dived right into the first round of gameplay – and it was hilarious from beginning to end.
Eric Bellinger stars in premiere episode of REVOLT’s new game show “Receipts”
REVOLT and Walmart are spotlighting everyday Black shoppers with unexpected talents on the new show.