It’s been reported that the death penalty and life imprisonment will be dropped from the draconian anti-gay bill which is currently before Uganda’s parliament.
The news came on International Human Rights Day and in the midst of growing global condemnation of the proposed legislation. Some countries, such as Sweden, have threatened to suspend aid to Uganda if it adopted the bill.
If the measures are dropped, the bill would most likely still impose severe penalties on any form of same-sex relationships or sexuality as well as individuals or organisations that support or lobby for the LGBT community.
According to Bloomberg, James Nsaba Buturo, Uganda’s minister for ethics and integrity, said that the “refined version” of the bill is set to be presented to parliament within two weeks.
It is believed that the new bill will include provisions that aim to “convert” lesbians and gays through counselling to “attract errant people to acceptable sexual orientation.”
At the same time, Ugandan clerics have issued a statement supporting the bill and calling on the government to resist international pressure.
According to Afrol News, the Inter-religious Council of Uganda also urged the government to cut diplomatic ties with countries “that are bent on forcing homosexuality on Ugandans.”
The current version of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would retain the current life sentence for homosexuality, would impose the death penalty for those who have gay sex with disabled and HIV positive people and would ban any expression of support for gays and lesbians with penalties of seven years in jail. A person who fails to report violators to the police within 24 hours would incur three years behind bars.