In stark contrast to Western views on LGBT rights, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has rejected a bill criminalizing homosexuality because he believes it doesn’t go far enough. The bill, which sparked international controversy, would impose severe penalties on gay individuals, including the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” This broad term encompasses same-sex acts with children or people with disabilities, serial offenders, or individuals with HIV. Additionally, the bill includes a 20-year prison sentence for promoting homosexuality.
However, Museveni seeks to further “strengthen” the bill, according to Reuters. While it’s unclear what specific changes he is looking for, it’s possible that Museveni and his party are attempting to avoid legal conflicts that could arise from potential court challenges.
This harsh bill has faced widespread condemnation from the international community, including the United Nations. Volker Türk, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed deep concern over the bill, stating that it could lead to the systematic violation of nearly all human rights for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals in Uganda. He also highlighted the confusion between consensual and non-consensual relations within the bill’s language.
The White House has also expressed its opposition to the legislation, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre emphasizing that the bill would impinge upon universal human rights and damage Uganda’s international reputation. Jean-Pierre added that no one should be attacked, imprisoned, or killed simply for being who they are or whom they love.
Uganda, a predominantly Christian nation in East Africa, already has laws in place that criminalize homosexual relationships. These laws are shared by most African nations previously colonized by the British.