Recently Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of the Ugandan parliament, announced that the 2009’s anti-homosexuality bill will become a law in Uganda in December 2012. She spoke about passing the bill as a ‘Christmas gift’ to its advocates. While homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda, this law would severely increase the penalties. In terms of the criminalisation of same-sex relationships, the law aimed to make a distinction between two types: ‘aggravated homosexuality’ and ‘offense of homosexuality’. ‘Aggravated homosexuality’, defined as ‘gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, paedophiles and repeat offenders’ would in the proposed law result in death penalty. ‘Same-sex acts or being gay in a relationship’, would be considered ‘offense of homosexuality’, and therefore would be punished by lifelong imprisonment. After Kadaga’s announcement, foreign donors have threatened to cut aid unless Uganda does respect equal rights for gay people. Amongst these donors there are several European countries – the United Kingdom in first place – and the United States. Due to this pressure, several amendments to the proposal were passed, resulting in the committee of Ugandan MP’s dropping the death penalty provision. However, they still endorsed the rest of this anti-homosexuality bill.
Whereas most governments have hitherto been relatively silent, civil society has spoken out with a loud voice. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide signed petitions to stop the ‘kill the gays’ bill’ from passing. However, this is still not enough. Therefore All Out, an organisation that brings together people of every identity – lesbian, gay, straight, transgender and all that’s between and beyond – to build a world in which everyone can live freely and be embraced for who they are, startedthe action Stop the “kill the gays’ bill”. With this action they aim for the whole world to take a stand against the bill, and therewith forcing global leaders to help stop it. They urge everybody to call their foreign affairs office, and tell their country’s official to speak out before it’s too late.
We, AEGEE, want to do the same and call upon the active citizens of Europe, the member states and the European institutions, to take a stand and stop this bill from passing.
As a reminder, when talking about LGBTQI rights, there is still a lot to fight for. Only twelve countries worldwide recognise and perform same-sex marriages and only fourteen countries worldwide recognise the right for adoption for LGBTQI-parents. The situation in Uganda is not an exception! Join the fight for justice and take a stand against the “kill the gays’ bill”, and strive for equal love worldwide!
Submitted by Eline de Graaf, Policy Officer for Social Inclusion on LGBT issues