The Ugandan Parliament begins debating its extreme "Anti Homosexuality Bill" that seeks the death penalty or life imprisonment for the new crime of "aggravated homosexuality."
At a special sitting of the Uganda Joint Christian Council taskforce sat and reviewed the bill to make comments. We resolved to support the bill with some amendments which included the following: (a) We suggested a less harsher sentence of 20 years instead of the death penalty for pedophilia or aggravated homosexuality. (b) We suggested the inclusion of counseling and rehabilitation being offered to offenders and victims. The churches are willing to provide the necessary help for those who are willing to undergo counseling and rehabilitation.
The Orwellian forced conversion therapy is not a new idea. In March, Rod 2.0 reported American anti-gay evangelists suggested the rabidly anti-gay government in Kampala should mandate "conversion therapy" for gay men. No word yet on the bill's most extreme provision, the death penalty. The bill's sponsor, MP David Bahati, says it will remain.
Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson said, 'We are concerned that if this legislation passes that it could in fact encourage others to do this. We will not have a double standard on human rights. We are opposed to this kind of legislation whether it is in Rwanda or any other country in Africa.' Carson, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, said the U.S. government had been in touch with Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni to express its opposition to the measure...adding that Museveni was empowered to veto legislation that comes forward. Carson stopped short of tying future U.S. aid to the bill. Uganda is a major recipient of HIV/AIDS relief and received an estimated $390 million in overall U.S. aid in 2009, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Assistant Secretary of State Carson's warning comes on the same weekend neighboring Rwanda proposes criminalizing homosexuality.