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Uganda Lawmakers To Fast-Track New Anti-Gay Bill

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Friday Oct 31, 2014

After an embarrassing defeat of the Uganda Parliament earlier this year by the Constitutional Court, legislators now say they will return on November 4, determined to fast-track a new anti-gay bill.

Gay Star News reports that legislators are champing at the bit to pass the coiuntry's Anti-Homosexuality Act, with Kawempe South MP Latif Ssebaggala vowing to fast-track a re-tabling of the bill.

Earlier this year, the courts struck down the new law. CNN reported that Speaker Rebecca Kadaga had acted illegally when she rushed the previous anti-gay bill through without following proper procedure. There were reportedly not enough members of Parliament present when she declared the law had been passed.

But Ssebaggala said, "We want to ensure everybody that we have not backfired. We are still on course and in fact we are more energized that our culture, our norms, our religious norms are protected."

Before that can happen, the legislation must be signed by President Yoweri Museveni, who could choose to delay the bill by forcing it to face the financial committee. Other lawmakers may also amend the bill. For example, Nabila Naggayi MP has said she wants to ban all anal sex, even between straight married couples, because it's against Ugandan culture.

But Ugandan gay rights activist Edwin Sesange said he was confident the bill would fail in Parliament.

"Even if the bill succeeds in becoming law, we are going to challenge it once again in the courts of law in Uganda and we're pretty sure that it'll be thrown out once again," he said. "They will try to use the bill as a way of getting votes in an election campaign year. This is really wrong. I call upon the LGBTI rights movement to be prepared to challenge this through peaceful means through all levels, local and international. We have a lot of work to do, we must not let them think we've got comfortable."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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