Uganda Gov't Announces 'Christmas Gift': Anti-Gay Law
It would punish anyone who promotes gay rights
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2012 1:03 AM CST
A gay rights demonstrator takes part in a protest outside the Uganda High Commission in London.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

(Newser) – The speaker of Uganda's parliament has promised a "Christmas gift" to the country's conservative Christian clerics: one of the world's harshest anti-gay laws. Homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda, but the bill the speaker has vowed to pass before the end of the year bans the "promotion" of gay rights and calls for the punishment of anyone who "funds or sponsors homosexuality" or "abets homosexuality," the BBC reports.

The bill will bring a tougher sentence for people convicted of some homosexual acts, although a clause introducing the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality" has been dropped. Ugandans "are demanding" the anti-gay law, the speaker told the AP before of a meeting of anti-gay activists who spoke of the "serious threat" gays posed to the country's children. The bill has been strongly criticized overseas, with President Obama calling it "odious" and some European countries threatening to withdraw aid if it is passed.