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Uganda set to pass anti-gay bill

Uganda's Speaker Rebecca Kadaga says that anti-gay legislation will become law this year despite international criticism.

Rebecca Kadaga Enlarge
President Museveni (L) walks with the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga (R) before addressing the 9th Parliament on the improvement of the Uganda Economy in Kampala on February 10, 2012. (PETER BUSOMOKE/AFP/Getty Images)

Uganda's Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, told The Associated Press that anti-gay legislation will become law by the end of this year despite international criticism.

According to the IBTimes, if enacted the bill will force professionals such as doctors and teachers to report someone who is homosexual within 24 hours — or face arrest. In earlier versions, the bill carried the death penalty for certain homosexual acts, but that has since been taken out.

Kadaga told the AP that Ugandans "are demanding it," adding that gays pose a "serious threat" to Uganda's children. Several Christian clerics also called the bill a "Christmas gift" to Uganda. 

But gay rights activists are not backing down. In a petition, activists said, "Speaker, we cannot sit back while such (a) destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation. We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament ... so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation."

Kikonyogo Kivumbi, executive director of civil rights organization Uhspa-Uganda, believes that this bill goes far beyond rights for the gay community. He told IBTimes that the bill is set to blackmail the west. 

"Uganda is using the bill to threaten and blackmail the West. They know that respect of human rights is a sensible subject in the West and they are using it to blackmail the international community."

The bill was temporary dropped during 2011 following the brutal murder of gay activist David Kato. It has never come before the full legislative body of Uganda for a vote. 

More from GlobalPost: Is this the end of Uganda's anti-gay law? Not likely

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/121113/uganda-anti-gay-bill