U.S. Conservatives Who Inspired Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Must Act Immediately to Stop Its Passage

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill will be debated in Parliament today and voted on tomorrow, Wednesday May 11.  The bill, thought by many to have been shelved, had in fact remained before a committee of Uganda’s parliament.  There were hearings on the legislation, known in some quarters as the “kill the gays” bill, last Friday, May 6.

Political Research Associates (PRA) again condemns Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill and calls on those American conservatives who played a role in its conception to take immediate action to forestall its passage.

U.S. Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, who charges homosexuals with perpetrating the Nazi Holocaust, met with Ugandan lawmakers and government officials in March 2009, some of whom drafted the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, a version of which is before Parliament today. Language in the bill echoes Lively’s false and malicious charges that western gays are conspiring to take over Uganda and even the world. Another influential antigay voice in Uganda, U.S. evangelical leader Rick Warren has told Ugandans that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right.

Lively and Warren inspired a demonization campaign that led directly to the current bill, which, if passed, would lead to life imprisonment or execution for the crime of gay sex, and require all Ugandans to report known homosexuals – including their own family members – to the police.

“Rick Warren shows one face in the United States where he says he loves gays, and another face in Africa, which is on the verge of pogroms against this community,” said PRA Project Director Rev. Kapya Kaoma. Kaoma authored Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia, which exposed the U.S. Right’s promotion of an agenda in Africa that aims to criminalize homosexuality.

Under intense pressure, Warren earlier denounced the bill. However, he has taken no visible actions to stop its passage. Lively has attempted to dissociate himself from the legislation, but has refused to condemn it outright. Pastors Rick Warren and Scott Lively must unequivocally denounce the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and admonish its proponents.  Warren and Lively must also use their personal and pastoral relationships, such as Warren’s friendship with Ugandan president Museveni and first lady Janet Museveni, to ensure that, if passed by Parliament, the bill will be vetoed.

“This reprehensible effort to further criminalize the LGBT community is an affront to human rights everywhere,” said PRA Executive Director Tarso Luís Ramos, adding, “The American anti-gay campaigners who lit this brushfire in Kampala must do everything possible to extinguish the flames that now threaten to become a devastating conflagration.”

The latest attempt to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill follows the murder of Ugandan human rights activist David Kato in January 2011.  Kato was Uganda’s most prominent advocate for LGBT equality. He and other LGBT Ugandans had been the targets of an intense demonization campaign fostered by right-wing Christian activists from the United States.

“It is already bad enough for us,” said Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), “If the bill is passed, we will not be able to live in Uganda. We will be thrown in jail, or hanged.”