January 8, 2010
Uganda Lawmaker Defends Antigay Bill
Ugandan lawmaker David Bahati, who proposed a controversial bill in September that would make acts of homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment or even death, said January 8 that he will refuse any request to withdraw the legislation, The New York Times reports.
The draft of the bill says anyone convicted of performing a homosexual act—which includes physical contact with someone of the same sex with the intention of committing a homosexual act—could be sentenced to life in prison. The death sentence could be applied to cases involving LGBT people found to be HIV positive as well as instances of same-sex rape.
The bill has prompted protests from human rights groups worldwide. On Thursday, January 7, Ugandan Minister of State for Investment Aston Kajara urged Bahati to withdraw the bill, saying it could damage relations with foreign investors.
“I stand by the bill,” Bahati said. “I will not withdraw it. We have our children in schools to protect against being recruited into [homosexuality]. The process of legislating a law to protect our children against homosexuality and defending our family values must go on.”
However, late last month, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said he would work to prevent the bill from becoming law if it reaches his desk.
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