Facts And Myths About Uganda’s ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill

As the Uganda Parliament prepares to once again consider the infamous “Kill The Gays” bill, a lot of confusion about what the “anti-homosexuality” bill actually does has once again arisen in the media. Many news outlets — notably the BBC, among others — reported last week that lawmakers had dropped the death penalty provision, but without confirmation of a language change, it’s impossible to conclude whether this is another bait-and-switch that basically isn’t true.

According to the BBC, “substantial amendments” were made, but MP Medard Segona could provide no further details. It is just such a proposed amendment that has repeatedly caused confusion about the fate of the death penalty in the bill, replacing the word “death” with a reference to a preexisting Penal Code Act that does allow for the death penalty. Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda; the sole purpose of this bill is to enhance the extent of the punishment and number of ways offenses can be prosecuted. It is irresponsible to suggest that the death penalty has been removed without a thorough investigation of the bill’s new language.

Box Turtle Bulletin has thoroughly dissected the proposed law’s original text, pointing out that even without a death penalty, the law would still “represent a barbaric regression for Uganda’s human rights record.” Here’s what BTB found:

The bill has passed out of committee and been placed on the Parliamentary agenda and it could come up as early as tomorrow, or linger for weeks as has happened in the past. If and when it does pass, news outlets must carefully examine its extremities and report them accurately. There is no redeeming value to this bill, and lawmakers who support it have every reason to soften their language while maintaining their most insidious “anti-homosexuality” intentions.