Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accused Uganda’s President Museveni of breaking his promise to not approve his country’s anti-gay bill.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the retired cleric revealed that when he spoke to Museveni last month, the president “gave his word that he would not let the Anti-Homosexuality Bill become law.”
Tutu said he was disheartened to learn that Museveni has now confirmed that he will in fact sign the oppressive bill.
Tutu also addressed Museveni’s claim that he decided to assent to the proposed law because a team of scientists from the country’s Health Ministry had concluded that there is no genetic cause for homosexual behaviour.
“We must be entirely clear about this: The history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only the grace of God,” said the Arhcbishop.
“There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral justification. Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, among others, attest to these facts.
“In South Africa, apartheid police used to rush into bedrooms where whites were suspected of making love to blacks. They would feel if the bed sheets were warm, crucial evidence to be used in the criminal case to follow. It was demeaning to those whose ‘crime’ was to love each other, it was demeaning to the policemen – and it was a blot on our entire society,” said Tutu.
He pleaded for Museveni to use his country’s debate around the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as a catalyst to further strengthen the culture of human rights and justice in Uganda.
In response to arguments by Ugandan politicians and religious leaders that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was necessary to protect children, Tutu urged Museveni to instead strengthen the law when it comes to paedophiles and sexual violators – regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
“Tightening such areas of the law would surely provide children and families far more protection than criminalising acts of love between consenting adults,” said Tutu.
In July last year, Tutu said: “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”
Tutu’s latest statement was welcomed by the recently formed Equal Rights Party, which slammed the South African government for remaining silent on the pending Ugandan legislation.
“The South African Government, who is the ultimate guardian of our Constitution, has so far remained mum,” said Prof Michael C Herbst, President of the Equal Rights Party.
“The silence of the South African Government on issues related to sexual orientation is not new. It has said nothing about legislation enacted in Nigeria, neither has it made any public statement against the persecution of LGBTQI individuals in Russia prior to, and during, the Winter Olympics in Sochi”, added Herbst.