Ugandan lawmakers have passed a law that prescribes a punishment of up to 20 years in prison for people identifying as LGBTQ+ on Tuesday, making some crimes punishable by death.
The new legislation constitutes a further crackdown on LGBTQ+ people in a country where same-sex relations are already illegal.
It targets an array of activities, including banning promoting and abetting homosexuality as well as conspiracy to engage in homosexuality.
Opposition lawmaker Asuman Basalirwa introduced the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2023 to parliament, saying that the bill aims to ‘protect our church culture; the legal, religious and traditional family values of Ugandans from the acts that are likely to promote sexual promiscuity in this country.’
Per the bill, the death penalty can be invoked for cases involving ‘aggravated homosexuality’ — a broad term used in the legislation to describe sex acts committed without consent or under duress, against children, people with mental or physical disabilities, by a ‘serial offender,’ or involving incest.
Basalirwa said on Tuesday, March 21: ‘The objective of the bill was to establish a comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect traditional family values, our diverse culture, our faiths, by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex and the promotion or recognition of sexual relations between persons of the same sex.’
However, Lawmaker Fox Odoi-Oywelowo spoke out against the bill, saying that it ‘contravenes established international and regional human rights standards’ as it ‘unfairly limits the fundamental rights of LGBTQ+ persons.’
The bill is expected to eventually go to Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, for assent. Museveni last week derided homosexuals as ‘deviants.’
Uganda made headlines in 2009 when it introduced an anti-homosexuality bill that included a death sentence for gay sex.
The country’s lawmakers passed a bill in 2014, but they replaced the death penalty clause with a proposal for life in prison. That law was ultimately struck down.