Connect to share and comment

Uganda: Anti-gay bill stalls

Anti-Homosexuality Bill loses steam after local and international opposition.

Some patrons showed signs of disgust, while others merely glanced at the pair and returned to their meals.

“Most importantly,” said Lubega, “there was never any aggressive action towards us and we never felt physically threatened.”

This unthreatening response bolsters the opinion that the strident anti-homosexual demonstrations were whipped up by some politicians and religious leaders, but the general population is more tolerant.

“Politicians find that homosexuals are a great scapegoat or red herring to divert attention to more pressing issues ... such as unemployment, corruption, poor health facilities, reform of electoral laws and so forth,” wrote Ugandan lawyer Sylvia Tamale, the first female dean of law at Makerere University law school.

“If we are to be absolutely honest with ourselves, we should ask whether there are not more pressing issues of moral violation in other areas such as domestic violence, torture and corruption. None of these areas have specific laws outlawing their practice,” wrote Tamale.

Rev. Mark Kiyimba of the Ugandan Unitarian Universalist Church, also known as "Pastor Brown," is a leader in Uganda’s LGBT community. He says that international pressure, especially from the Obama administration, has “cooled down progress on the bill.”

“We have shifted our focus and are now concentrating on HIV, spirituality and social issues," said Kiyimba. "We don’t hear anything anymore about the bill. Besides, parliament will dissolve next month, so it is too late to debate the bill before the close of parliament.”