President Yoweri Museveni
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni will sign his country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill after all, a government spokesperson confirmed on Friday.
AP reported that spokesman Ofwono Opondo tweeted that leaders in Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) party “welcomed the development as a measure to protect Ugandans from social deviants.”
An NRM spokeswoman, Evelyn Anite, also confirmed the news and said that Museveni had received a report from Ugandan “medical experts” concluding that “homosexuality is not genetic but a social behaviour.”
Museveni previously stated that he would only sign the appalling legislation if it was proven to him that homosexuality was not “natural.”
Opondo said that the 14 scientists who compiled the report were from Uganda’s Ministry of Health and Makerere University.
Their conclusion flies in the face of decades of research, including a study released on Friday, that increasingly shows that homosexuality is at least partly genetic and is likely also influenced in the mother’s womb.
Museveni also chose to ignore a letter from a group of scientists and doctors who told him that independent evidence from around the world has concluded that “homosexuality is not a pathology, an abnormality, a mental disorder, or an illness — it is a variant of sexual behaviour found in people around the world.”
Spectrum Uganda responded to the latest news on Facebook, stating “that this is a black Valentine’s Day for the Ugandan LGBTI community.”
The Facebook group Uganda Gay on Move commented that it was a “sad moment” and urged “all those countries that respect LGBTI to strongly impose restrictions to all those that have supported the passage of this bill into law, be it the MPs, ministers, clergy, music singers.”
While it is opposed to completely cutting aid off to Uganda as “it would punish innocent people” it said that other “measures like travel bans to these mentioned people to countries that respect LGBTI rights should be imposed.”
To make matters worse, also on Friday, Uganda’s Daily Monitor reported that President Museveni has decided that “sodomy suspects” should be denied bail.
His party has backed his proposal to enact a law that will deny bail to men charged with having anal intercourse, defined as a “crime against nature” or sex “against the order of nature.”
Anite said that, “The President had proposed that bail must be denied to those who rape and defile others and MPs amended it to include those that sodomise others. The proposal was overwhelmingly supported.”
Anal sex between men is already illegal in Uganda, with penalties including life imprisonment. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill extends the ban to any kind of same-sex sex and punishes “aggravated homosexuality” with life imprisonment.
In addition, anyone who “aids, abets [or] counsels” any gay person and anyone who rents a home or room to a gay person could also be sentenced to seven years in jail.
The bill further includes criminal penalties of three to seven years in prison for anyone who fails to turn over gay people to the police or anyone who “promotes” homosexuality.