Media report: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill on Parliament’s Agenda Next Week

According to the UG Pulse:

The Anti Homosexuality bill 2009 and the Marriage and Divorce bill are due for debate when parliament resumes business next week.

The two controversial bills that raised public debate during the 8th Parliament are up for consideration when the Business committee of the House sits next week.

In a letter to MPs on the committee from the office of the Clerk to Parliament, the meeting slated for Monday next week is expected to consider the legislative programme for the 3rd meeting of the 1st session of the 9th Parliament.

The Anti-Homosexuality bill 2009, moved by Ndorwa West MP, David Bahati is one of the bills to be considered on the agenda, despite calls from international human rights activists, donors and gays, out rightly rejected the bill.

Also to be considered is the Marriage and Divorce Bill 2009, which is being pushed for by women rights activists to reform and consolidate laws relating to marriage, separation and divorce.

However religious leaders have rejected the bill, noting that the clause that recognizes cohabitation as a form of marriage is in breach of their religious beliefs.

Other bills for consideration are the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Control bill, the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, Anti-Counterfeiting Goods bill, as well as the Companies bill.

If I understand this article correctly, what will happen Monday is that the Business Committee will meet to determine when the bills carried over from the 8th Parliament will be debated. One of those bills carried over is the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

This meeting should be watched closely. The Speaker of the House could delay the bill or she could encourage the members to consider it promptly. I wrote about this process back in October, 2011. At that time, Parliament spokeswoman Helen Kawesa laid out the procedure:

Yesterday, I reported that the Parliament of Ugandavoted to return unfinished bills from the Eighth Session to business in the current session. One of those bills specifically referenced was the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

This morning I spoke with Parliament Spokeswoman, Helen Kawesa, who told me that no date had been set for debate on the anti-gay measure. “The Business Committee will meet to decide what bills are considered. Then they will be listed on the daily Order Paper,” Kawesa explained. The Business Committee is chaired by Speaker of the House Rebecca Kadaga and made up of all other committee chairs. Currently, no date has been set for this committee to consider a schedule for the bills returned from the Eighth Parliament.

I also spoke briefly to Stephen Tashobya, chair of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee. His committee prepared a report on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in May and recommended passage with some minor changes. He had no comment on the status of the anti-gay bill since he has been traveling.

According to Kawesa, the Business committee could recommend that the anti-gay bill go back to committee or it could recommend that the former committee report become the basis for debate in the Parliament. Apparently, the return of the bill to the floor is not automatic. The Speaker has some ability to delay it or expedite it. The decision of the Business committee may signal how quickly the bill will move.

The committee report from Tashobya’s committee left the severe aspects of the bill intact, including the death penalty and life in prison (see an analysis here).

It seems the Parliament is determined to take up the bill over the objections of the Executive branch.

Anoka-Hennepin featured in Rolling Stone expose on anti-gay bullying

I wrote about this district last year.

Rolling Stone has a powerful article in their February 16, 2012 issue that is online here. Go read it. Now.

The Parent’s Action League (PAL) continues to be at the center of the problem, vilifying gays while they want the school to be silent on the subject. On their website, they write:

Bullying of any kind, for any reason, towards any child must NOT be tolerated.”

Note: Respectfully disagreeing with a point of view or behavior is not bullying per the First Amendment.

How do you respectfully say gays are caused by child molestation and that they are not normal? These are just two “loving truths” that the PAL people want the freedom to force on students in the Anoka-Hennipin School District. I doubt the PAL people would believe such sharing with their children would demonstrate respect if the message was aimed toward evangelicals.



Reparative therapy and confirmation bias: Langer & Abelson’s 1974 study of clinical bias

Recently, I have been examining the possible role of confirmation bias in the attributions of reparative therapists.  In this post, I look at a classic study of how theoretical persuasion associates with clinical judgment.

Ellen Langer’s and Robert Abelson’s 1974 study* on clinical judgment is an important caution to clinicians about the role of preconceived ideas on diagnosis and attributions about patients. The abstract for the study is presented here:

The effect of labels on clinicians’ judgments was assessed in a 2 X 2 factorial design. Clinicians representing two different schools of thought, behavioral and analytic, viewed a single videotaped interview between a man who had recently applied for a new job and one of the authors. Half of each group was told that the interviewee was a “job applicant,” while the remaining half was told that he was a “patient.” At the end of the videotape, all clinicians were asked to complete a questionnaire evaluating the interviewee. The interviewee was described as fairly well adjusted by the behavioral therapists regardless of the label supplied. This was not the case, however, for the more traditional therapists. When the interviewee was labeled “patient,” he was described as significantly more disturbed than he was when he was labeled “job applicant.”

In addition to ratings of pathology, the authors recorded some of the descriptions of the interview by therapists who were told the interviewee was a job applicant and those who were told he was a patient. The differences are striking. Behavior therapists did not differ much but the psychoanalytic therapists described the job applicants as well adjusted but the same interviewee, when labeled as a patient, was labeled as disturbed. Note these differences from Langer and Abelson’s discussion of their study.

In the study just described, all of the subjects saw the same videotaped interview. Yet when asked to describe the interviewee, the behavior therapists said he was “realistic”; “unassertive”; “fairly sincere, enthusiastic, attractive appearance”; “pleasant, easy manner of speaking”; “relatively bright, but unable to assert himself”; “appeared responsible in interview.” The analytic therapists who saw a job applicant called him “attractive and conventional looking”; “candid and innovative”; “ordinary, straightforward”; “upstanding, middle-class-citizen type, but more like a hard hat”; “probably of lower or blue-collar class origins”; “middle-class protestant ethic orientation; fairly open-— somewhat ingenious.” The analytic therapists that saw a patient described him as a “tight, defensive person . . . conflict over homosexuality”; “dependent, passive-aggressive”; “frightened of his own aggressive impulses”; “fairly bright, but tries to seem brighter than he is … impulsivity shows through his rigidity”; “passive, dependent type”; “considerable hostility, repressed or channeled.”

Note the dramatic differences in descriptions. The same person who was described as well adjusted by analysts who thought they were watching a person applying for a job was described in pathological terms when they thought they were watching a patient being interviewed. Note that an attribution of homosexuality was made by at least one of the analytic therapists.

When reparative therapists say they are not biased when examining the histories of their same-sex attracted patients, I am highly skeptical.

Langer and Abelson describe the potential problem with making attributions based on patient labeling:

In practical terms, the labeling bias may have unfortunate consequences whatever the specific details of its operation. Once an individual enters a therapist’s office for consultation, he has labeled himself “patient.” From the very start of the session, the orientation of the conversation may be quite negative. The patient discusses all the negative things he said, did, thought, and felt. The therapist then discusses or thinks about what is wrong with the patient’s behavior, cognitions and feelings. The therapist’s negative expectations in turn may affect the patient’s view of his own difficulties, thereby possibly locking the interaction into a self-fulfilling gloomy prophecy.

It is not hard to see how a client presenting with “unwanted same-sex attraction” could end up in the kind of self-fulfilling prophecy described by Langer and Abelson. Since reparative therapists believe homosexuality is invariably caused by “gender wounds” early in life, no small amount of effort will be spent to find evidence of them, whether or not they exist.

*Langer, E.J.; & Abelson, R.P. (1974).A patient by any other name . . . : Clinician group difference in labeling bias.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.42(1), 4-9.




The Donald to endorse Gingrich? UPDATE: Or will he endorse Romney?

One thing you can say for Gingrich – he has created an odd coalition of endorsers.

According to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal report, Donald Trump is set to endorse Gingrich in Las Vegas today. He will join the AFA’s Don Wildmon, Liberty Council’s Mat Staver, gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson, and actor Chuck Norris as endorsers.

UPDATE: Now the New York Times is reporting that Trump will endorse Mitt Romney.