Ugandan Parliament begins public debate on Anti-Homosexuality Bill

According to this report, religious leaders in Uganda want the death penalty removed from the Anti-Homosexuality Bill but life in prison is still ok with them.

Homosexuals should not be killed but instead imprisoned for life, religious leaders have suggested.

Making their input in the Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009 yesterday, the clergy said the clause on death as a penalty for homosexuality be scrapped.

“If you kill the people, to whom will the message go? We need to have imprisonment for life if the person is still alive,” said Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, the provincial secretary of the Church of Uganda.

The group, which also comprised Dr Joseph Kakembo of the Seventh Day Adventist church, Dr Joseph Sserwadda, the head of Pentecostal churches, Prof. Peter Matovu, the Orthodox vicar general of the Orthodox and Sheikh Ali Mohammed, representing the mufti, however, made it clear that they support the Bill, because “homosexuality is an evil and is anti-godly”.

The Bill tabled before Parliament on October 15, by Mr David Bahati [Ndorwa East], and Mr Obua Benson [Moroto], seeks to prohibit any form of sexual relations between same sex people.

Parliament yesterday begun public debates on the Bill, conducted by the committee on presidential affairs.

While it may not alter the outcome, I hope leaders in these religious groups from around the world will weigh in on the situation.

Other religious leaders in Uganda have also spoken against the death penalty. However, jail time is still ok with them as well.

A proposed law that seeks to penalize homosexuality activities in Uganda may have to go back to the drawing board following rejections of some of its sections by religious leaders, especially Catholics, protestants and born again Christians.

The leaders, who met MPs on the Presidential Affairs committee today morning in Kampala notes that some of the clauses in the bill that call for the death penalty are unfair and against the laws of Christianity.

According to the bill, anyone found guilty of aggravated homosexuality against a person below 18 years or infecting them with HIV/AIDS faces death as a penalty.

The Provincial Secretary in the Church of Uganda, Rev. Aaron Mwesigye says that much as homosexuality is an inhumane act against people, Parliament has to follow the natural law of justice.

Rev. Mwesigye says President Museveni’s refusal to assent to the death sentence for prisoners is proof that the penalty is not needed in Uganda.

Join this Facebook group to speak out in opposition to this bill.