Uganda's infamous "Kill the Gays" bill was scheduled for a second round of parliamentary debate yesterday, but the process was delayed by a walkout by female legislators, ColorLines reports. Instead it will be debated in a special session on Friday. And its author, David Bahati, predicts that it will become law if voted on.
The nickname "Kill the Gays" isn't an exaggeration of the potential consequences of the legislation's passage. Under it, those who are "repeat offenders" in having sexual intimacy with a person of the same sex will be sentenced to death. Anyone who "aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage of acts of homosexuality" would face seven years in prison. Even Ugandans who fail to report to the authorities that a person is gay or lesbian will do time.
Ugandan advocates say that the introduction of the bill alone has been associated with a rise in hate crimes and violence against their community. In January, gay human rights activist David Kato was beaten to death. In the fall of 2010, a newspaper published a list of "suspected" gays and lesbians with the headline "Hang Them."
Between wars and national disasters, there are plenty of distressing things taking place in the world that we're relatively powerless to stop. This, however, isn't one of them. You can sign a petition sponsored by All Out, a new global LGBT campaign organization, expressing solidarity with the human rights activists who oppose the bill. It has already been credited with inspiring yesterday's walkout.
The campaign is also asking people to call their world leaders, asking them to loudly and publicly condemn "Kill the Gays." Please click here to make that call. Ugandan leaders need to know that the world is watching and this legislation is unacceptable.
Read more at ColorLines.
In other news: Stephen L. Carter: Torture Can Be Wrong and Still Work.