There are several new items regarding Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill that I want to summarize as the week closes. After a lengthy campaign at Change.org, Barclays bank issued a statement indicating that they are quietly lobbying the Ugandan government regarding the bill. Here is the brief statement:
Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill Statement
“Barclays has a strong history of supporting all aspects of diversity, both in the workplace and in wider society. Equally, we are proud of playing our part in the development of economies across Africa, and the key role Barclays plays in the lives of millions of our African customers. “Barclays is aware of the proposed legislation relating to homosexuality in Uganda and we are engaging at appropriate levels of the Ugandan Government to express our views.”
I have seen nothing from Citibank. The Change.org campaign has over 500,000 signatures at this point.
According to this AP article, David Bahati continues to keep his bill in the news. Even though Parliament is stalled over oil and internal strife, Bahati is talking up what he claims are changes in the bill. After claims in May, 2011 about the removal of the death penalty were proven false, I won’t believe his current claims until I can check them with an official report. However, if the bill is amended by Parliament in accord with the AP article, the focus of the bill may shift slightly. According to Bahati, counseling for gays has been added. If this is true and is made to serve as an alternative to jail, then Scott Lively will likely take some credit for it. He has been promoting what amounts to coerced ex-gay counseling for gays since March, 2009. Despite the fact that even NARTH has condemned that proposal, Lively (lately joined by Bryan Fischer) continues to promote this idea. The AP article carried an encouraging sign. Apparently, at least one MP on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee was willing to speak up for personal freedom:
One of the members, Krispus Ayena, said Friday that some parliamentarians spoke strongly against certain provisions in the bill as well as the death penalty itself. “There was a dissenting voice in the committee,” Ayena said. “They argued very forcefully that we should not do a thing like that: to regulate what goes on in bedrooms. First of all, is it practicable to regulate that? And there are those who say this is very oppressive.”
While MPs who think like this may not stop the bill, one hopes that behind the scenes there are those who are making attempts to keep the bill from the floor. Because of the recess called by the Speaker and the need to debate the oil bills, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill may not be considered before the December 15 Christmas break.