By Kristin Rawls | 7 February 2012
Uganda’s notorious “kill-the-gays” bill, supported by some far-right Christian advocates in United States, was placed back on the Ugandan Parliament’s schedule for a vote yesterday. The proposed legislation punishes repeated instances of “homosexual behavior” – or sex – with the death penalty. Unless a member of Parliament releases the date and time to the public, it could be brought before the legislature’s Lower House for a vote at any moment. After that, it would need to pass the Upper House, and could become law very quickly.
This means it’s time to put pressure on the White House and the State Department to use diplomatic pressures to put a stop to this bill and others like it once and for all. (An officer at the State Department’s press office told me the agency could not comment for this article because the legislation has not yet passed.) We must also call upon State to cease the practice of deporting LGBT Ugandans back to their home country. As journalist Jeff Sharlet points out, international pressure has taken this bill off the table in the past and could very well do so again. Still, similar campaigns are underway throughout Africa. The worldwide fight against LGBT human rights abuses is only beginning.
In the weeks following Hillary Clinton’s historic December United Nations speech claiming that “gay rights are human rights,” the conservative Christian community in the United States has castigated the Obama administration. Clinton’s speech was popularly interpreted as a rebuke of countries like Uganda, where the Anti-Homosexuality bill calling for the execution of some LGBT people, keeps popping up. The Christian Right is particularly outraged by State Department plans to withhold aid to countries that violate basic LGBT human rights.
At Right-Wing Watch, Brian Tashman posted immediate condemnations from 700 Club Host Pat Robertson and Christian radio host Janet Meffird. Robertson said, “This country cannot continue to violate God’s principles and to make a mockery of his laws and think we’re going to get away with it. And when the blow comes, it’s going to be horrible.”
Meffird jumped into the fray to support anti-gay measures on the table in Nigeria that include long-term imprisonment. She dismissed claims that these anti-gay campaigns are stoking violence against LGBT people, asking, “All right, but they’re not killing them, are they?”