Uganda’s Parliament Speaker Resolved to Bring Anti-Gay Bill to a Vote

From the Ugandan Parliament website:

Parliament will soon debate Anti Homosexuality Bill – Speaker

Parliament will soon debate Anti Homosexuality Bill – SpeakerParliament will soon consider the Anti Homosexuality Bill, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, has said.

The Speaker, who was addressing a cross section of religious leaders upon her return from Canada where she attended the 127th Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly, said she would not be intimidated by any western power about her position on homosexuality.

“I will instruct the Chair of the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to bring the report on the Anti Homosexuality Bill, so that we can consider it,” she said, Monday night.

The Anti Homosexuality Bill, a private Members draft law was moved by Hon. David Bahati during the Eighth Parliament. It seeks to establish a comprehensive legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between people of the same sex; and the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions as healthy, normal or an acceptable lifestyle, including in the public schools, through or with the support of any government entity in Uganda or any non- governmental organization inside or outside the country.

During the IPU Assembly held in Quebec, Canada, Hon. Kadaga protested assertions by the Canadian Foreign Minister that Uganda was intolerant to homosexuals.

“If homosexuality is a value for the people of Canada, they should not seek to force Uganda to embrace it. We are not a colony or a protectorate of Canada,” she said while in Canada.

Upon her return, the Speaker said that delegates from several other countries were happy with her statement but were afraid to speak out.

“I did not realize I was speaking for the entire world; Africa, the Arab world, Latin America and western countries; delegates told me ‘you were speaking for all of us.’ They had no courage to respond to (the Canadian Foreign Minister),” she said.

She added, “I will not accept to be intimidated or directed by any government in the world. If the price of aid is accepting homosexuality, we can reject the aid.”

The welcome ceremony included Parliament Commissioners, MPs, the former Minister of Ethics, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo, advocates against homosexuality and several students, who carried placards in support of the Speaker’s position and urging Parliament to urgently approve the Anti Homosexuality Bill.

Committee chair Tashobya was quoted in a newspaper article this week that he would have it to the floor before Christmas. Let’s remember that the order paper of Parliament will reflect the second reading of the bill. At that time a committee report will be heard and debate occur. It is highly likely that the third reading will happen that same day. If so, the bill could become law rapidly once introduced to the floor. The President can send it back to Parliament with suggestions but according to current practice and the Constitution, he cannot stop the bill from becoming law.