Death penalty for gays in Uganda!
Yes, you read that right. A bill is pending before the Ugandan legislature* that would impose the death penalty on certain gay Ugandans. Active homosexuals that have HIV, those involved in same-sex rape, and serial offenders would qualify for capital punishment.
It gets worse. The friends and family of gay offenders could face up to seven years in jail for failing to report them. Anyone who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality” faces prison if convicted. This would include landlords, for example, who rent rooms or homes to gays.
The legislators pushing the bill insist that strict measures are needed to stop homosexuals from “recruiting” schoolchildren. “The youths in secondary school copy everything from the Western world and America” said a Ugandan high school teacher. “A good number of students have been converted into gays.”
As you might expect, international gay activists say the bill promotes hatred and may set back the efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. They believe the bill is part of a continentwide backlash because Africa’s gay community is becoming more vocal. Protests against the legislation have taken place in New York, London and Washington.
Does this sound like something out of the Dark Ages instead of the 21st century? Can someone be converted to homosexuality? What about the other way around – can therapy or prayer turn a gay person straight? You know that some people believe that being gay is a choice – what do you think of that position?
[Map from Google Images]
Update: As the Ugandan Parliament continues to debate the bill, gays continue to be eliminated. In January, 2011, one of the country’s leading gay-rights activist, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer near his home. His photo, name and address were included in a list of the country’s “Top 100 Homosexuals.”
* In February, 2014, the president of Uganda signed an anti-gay bill into law effective immediately. It does not include a death penalty but does call for a life sentence for repeated offenses. A first-time offense may result in up to 14 years in prison. Nigeria passed similar legislation in January, 2014.