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Nation's Law Would Bring Death Penalty for Gay Sex

Critics say revived bill in Uganda will 'fire up more hatred'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2019 11:13 AM CDT
In this May 3, 2018, file photo, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni speaks during a visit to Juba, South Sudan.   (AP Photo/Bullen Chol, File)

(Newser) – Africa is known for having some of the most rigid laws against homosexuality in the world, with Uganda now vying for one of the top spots on that front. Reuters reports a bill is in the works there that would resurrect a long-dormant one, with a dire punishment for gay sex: the death penalty. Gay sex is already punishable there by life imprisonment. "Homosexuality is not natural to Ugandans, but there has been a massive recruitment by gay people in schools, and especially among the youth, where they are promoting the falsehood that people are born like that," Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo says. The bill, which has earned the label of "Kill the Gays" for its death penalty inclusion, has been floating around for years, but it was quashed in 2014 in the courts on a technicality.

This time around, those pushing the bill are confident it will go through. Fox News notes the anti-gay climate that exists throughout the entire continent: Nearly three dozen nations there have laws against homosexuality on the books. In four of those countries—Sudan, Mauritania, Somalia, and northern Nigeria—gay sex can lead to execution. Earlier this year, Brunei walked back similar legislation after international backlash, saying it wouldn't enforce the death penalty for gay sex, though the law against it remains intact. Lokodo tells Reuters the Ugandan bill has support from President Yoweri Museveni and will likely see a vote in Parliament by year's end. Critics fear what this reinvigorated bill could mean for the country's gay population. "This is going to fire up more hatred in an already homophobic environment," a spokeswoman for Amnesty International says. (Read more Uganda stories.)

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