Ugandan Parliament Set to Vote this Week on the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill”

(San Francisco, CA, May 10, 2011)—Today, the Ugandan parliament held hearings on the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” which would make being lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender a crime that is punishable by death, and would impose jail time on anyone who does not immediately report LGBTQ people to the police as “offenders.”

The Civil Society Coalition, a group of 28 organizations in the capital of Uganda, testified before parliament that the bill “is being used to blind the world to everything else that is going on in Uganda,” including a crackdown on the freedom of the press, rampant inflation, rising food and fuel prices, and a month of intense protests against government corruption.

Ugandan activists say that the government is attempting to reinvigorate this bill—known as the “Kill the Gays” bill—to draw attention away from its violent response to the demonstrations, which has consisted of arresting protest leaders, shooting unarmed civilians, and repeated teargassing of demonstrators. They are calling on the government to focus on pervasive issues of hunger, poverty, and democratic governance.

The Civil Society Coalition noted that the bill prohibits outreach, education, support and targeted services for LGBTQ people, including HIV treatment and prevention. The current Ugandan parliament will vote on the bill by the end of this week. Ugandan activists have asked that concerned allies circulate this information to media outlets, international organizations and their personal networks, and continue to watch www.GlobalEquality.Wordpress.com for further details.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“This bill is a shocking abuse of government power to persecute innocent people. The government is scapegoating the LGBTQ community in a blatant attempt to distract attention from its repression of all Ugandans. We support the efforts of the LGBTQ community in Uganda to stand up to this horrific assault, and we call on governments, religious and political leaders around the world to condemn this repugnant bill.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.