Ugandan blogger: Anti-homosexuality bill tabled until January, 2010

Blogger Gay Uganda reports on a public television talk show in Uganda featuring the member of parliament who introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 (David Bahati) and Pastor Martin Ssempa.

GU noted:

Oh, and I gathered from MP Bahati that the bill has been scheduled to be brought back in Jan 2010. Parliament was too busy, just now, to handle the important matter of the Anti- Homosexuality bill. Apparently it is very, very far ahead in the future, but that gives you time to check in with your MP and tell them how much you support the Bahati Bill.

Gay Uganda also described in detail the appearance of Martin Ssempa. The blogger said that Ssempa is squarely behind the bill and believes any legislator who votes against it is pro-gay. According the GU, Ssempa issued warnings:

  • Warning all Ugandan politicians. this is the time to get off the fence about homosexuality. You are either pro or anti-homosexual. No middle ground.
  • If you dont support the bill, political suicide. Because Ugandans support the bill.
  • Ssempa appears to be taking the lead on the support for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

  • He has formed a new organisation (must have a conglomerate by now) called the Family Policy Centre.
  • He gave the phone number, and his email address ssempam@gmail.com for anyone with questions.
  • And, he told people to send him money.
  • American Christians have some culpability for this situation by going to Uganda and failing to speak against this error. American Christians need to step up and speak now. I call upon those supporting Ugandan Christian groups to work with their Ugandan brethren to withdraw this bill.

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    • Michael Bussee

      American Christians have some culpability for this situation by going to Uganda and failing to speak against this error. American Christians need to step up and speak now. I call upon those supporting Ugandan Christian groups to work with their Ugandan brethren to withdraw this bill.

      Which American Christians do you mean? Who do you believe made an error in going to Uganda — and who has failed to speak up? Exodus has done so. Who else needs to speak now?

    • David Blakeslee

      Well done Warren, you continue to inspire.

    • Lynn David

      Well, I imagine Ssempa and Langa’s FLN are getting US dollars, especially from disaffected Anglicans/Episcopals, some of whom have placed themselves under the Anglican Bishop of Uganda.

    • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

      FWIW, I posted a comment on Ssempa’s Makerere Church site message board (I am setfreebygrace). I also have brought the Uganda problem to the attention of Andrew Marin and his blog community. Perhaps he will use his many church connections to do something.

    • Michael Bussee

      Seems you warned them months ago that this was not a good idea:

      Warren ~ Mar 2, 2009 at 3:46 pm

      I don’t know what Mr. Schmierer believes. One should not assume. I should probably check that out.

      To me, this is similar to the NARTH-Schoenewolf controversy several years ago. You have a govt which has contemplated barberic means of treating gay people and an Exodus board member being used to add credibility to the effort. While I suspect Mr. Schmierer might be oblivious to this, my hope is that he will not attend.

    • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

      FYI, I just posted the results of my latest research to Warren’s new Facebook Group and to my blog.

    • Eddy

      I realize that we are critical of Uganda’s proposed bill but I’m wondering just what it is that we are suggesting in its place. My particular concerns go to what’s being called ‘aggravated homosexuality’. While I agree that the death penalty is incredibly harsh and severe, I’ve been pondering what degree of punishment we do feel is appropriate. One of the ‘aggravated’ offenses is sex with a minor; we punish that here. Another of the ‘aggravated’ offenses is that of a person with AIDS having homosexual sex; that’s also a punishable offense in the U S if it’s unprotected and results in spreading AIDS to another. Somewhere in the recent readings I’ve done, I’m pretty sure I read that both of these ‘aggravated offenses’ already carry the death penalty when perpetrated heterosexually. What do we propose? How do we propose it? How do we justify our current reaction to the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexual offenses’ in light of our silence re the death penalty for ‘aggravated heterosexual offenses’?

    • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

      Eddy – Where is the death penalty imposed for what you are describing? Where did you read it? And is it actually carried out?

      In any case, fairness is not the aim of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.

    • Eddy

      Warren–this isn’t where I first read it…but it demonstrates how easy it is to find.

      African Press, October 17

      The bill thus equates aggravated homosexuality to aggravated defilement among people of different sexes, which also carries the death sentence

      I’ll keep looking for the article that paralled all the ‘aggravated’ offenses.

    • Eddy

      Warren–this isn’t where I first read it…but it demonstrates how easy it is to find.

      African Press, October 17

      The bill thus equates aggravated homosexuality to aggravated defilement among people of different sexes, which also carries the death sentence

      I’ll keep looking for the article that paralled all the ‘aggravated’ offenses.

      From ‘Towleroad–A site with gay tendencies’…they quoted from New Vision:

      A person commits aggravated homosexuality when the victim is a person with disability or below the age of 18, or when the offender is HIV-positive. The bill thus equates aggravated homosexuality to aggravated defilement among people of different sexes, which also carries the death sentence.

      (Italics mine)

      I thought I already posted the first half while I kept looking. Forgive me if a repeat. Towleroad/New Vision still isn’t the original version of what I read. (BTW: I’m googling ‘uganda aggravated’…I think when I was researching this weekend it was ‘uganda homosexuality bill’.

    • Eddy

      Warren–

      The references are rampant. My bad though…it’s called ‘aggravated defilement‘ in the heterosexual sense. Easily googled.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      In general my view is that consequences should be equal. I would not impose the death penalty for a sexual offense of a person under 18. I can see harsh penalties for child abuse and imposition of sexual acts on a minor with graduated consequences based in part on age. However, this law cannot be discussed in such a rational manner when the intent is to stamp out all homosexuality.

    • Michael Bussee

      However, this law cannot be discussed in such a rational manner when the intent is to stamp out all homosexuality.

      That needed repeating.

      You have a govt which has contemplated barberic means of treating gay people and an Exodus board member being used to add credibility to the effort.

      So did that.

      American Christians have some culpability for this situation by going to Uganda and failing to speak against this error.

      And that.

      Who went? Who else needs to step up and speak up?

    • Eddy

      We do need to speak up; we do need to speak up rationally. We also need to realize that even before these American speakers went and apparently lent credibility to the remainder of the bill (the life imprisonment for being or speaking homosexual)…we need to realize that we are speaking to a government that has already endorsed the death penalty for aggravated heterosexual offenses and to realize that there appears to be no evidence of an outcry against that.

      If there was outcry, we need to explore it and see what, if any, impact it has had. If there was no outcry, then perhaps we need to examine why there wasn’t…from the Ugandans and from us. Was it that we didn’t care until the death penalty was clearly being extended to homosexuals? Was it that the situation simply flew under our radar? Whatever the case, we have been granted, by this delay, several months to formulate articulate arguments to reduce the penalties for ‘aggravated’ offenses and to reduce or eliminate the judgements against homosexuality per se. Frankly, I don’t envision the possibility of a reduction from ‘life imprisonment’ to ‘no criminal offense whatsoever’. The ‘all or nothing’ approach didn’t work well here in the states…we progressed in stages. A rational and realistic approach ought to take these real life factors into consideration.

    • Michael Bussee

      Why no outcry until now? I am not sure. Good questions. For me, I guess it flew under the radar. I honestly had no idea what was going on there until American Christians went, were used by the government to lend credibility to the effort to and then failed to speak up or admit they had made a big mistake. That is my fault. I should be more informed and promise that from now on, I will be,.

      Looking back, it seems that no one on this blog seemd to get what was going on there until Warren brought it to our attention in March — and warned that it was not a good idea for American Christians to go to the ex-gay conference. I guess in that sense, I am grateful for their blunder and subsequent failure to speak up. It lit a fire under me.

    • Eddy

      Michael-

      I appreciate your candor. Here’s my big concern. If we are genuinely trying to impact the Ugandan government, the sniping at the American delegates to the ex-gay conference will have no positive value whatsoever. We can use it to motivate American Christians to speak but it seems that bringing it into any discussions or statements to the Ugandan government would actually work against efforts to alter their bill.

      Most of what I’ve been reading here on the blog and from the other websites comes from our center, from our agenda, from our way of thinking. Most of us seem to have missed the fact that I brought up…that they already have the death penalty for ‘aggravated’ heterosexual offenses. Can we even fathom that? Much of the inspiration/agitation that is motivating current response hinges on the unthinkable death penalty. There’s a strong sense of ‘we just can’t let that happen; we’ve got to do something’…but the reality is, it has already happened. The death penalty is already a part of their culture and it’s deemed appropriate for ‘sins’ far less than serious than murder (which was our standard). We are so out of touch with their culture that we aren’t ready yet to speak to them. Anything we say now will be speaking at them rather than with them or to them…and, in my experience, that dynamic is usually doomed to failure.

    • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

      We are so out of touch with their culture that we aren’t ready yet to speak to them. Anything we say now will be speaking at them rather than with them or to them…and, in my experience, that dynamic is usually doomed to failure.

      I’ve been thinking about this for the past few days, as I’ve continued to study some history, and Eddy is right about our being out of touch with their culture. I have focused my concerns more on the Church, a “culture” with a common language that ought to cut across ethnic barriers. Can it here? Remains to be seen. Other cultural barriers impact the Church.

    • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

      Ironically, as Uganda is tabling their bill until 2010, the Senate has now passed our revised hate crimes bill. Awaiting Obama’s signature.

    • Michael Bussee

      We are so out of touch with their culture that we aren’t ready yet to speak to them. Anything we say now will be speaking at them rather than with them or to them…and, in my experience, that dynamic is usually doomed to failure.

      What do do then? Anything?

    • Michael Bussee

      We can use it to motivate American Christians to speak but it seems that bringing it into any discussions or statements to the Ugandan government would actually work against efforts to alter their bill.

      What, then, is the purpose in “motivating American Christians to speak up”? Just to be on the record? Why not just stay silent if it will do no good or even worsen the situation? What do you suggest, Eddy? I am open to ideas.

    • Michael Bussee

      Whatever the case, we have been granted, by this delay, several months to formulate articulate arguments to reduce the penalties for ‘aggravated’ offenses and to reduce or eliminate the judgements against homosexuality per se.

      Is it you feeling that we should focus on this — reducing the penalties for all “aggravated offenses” — hetero and homo – (the death penalty) and reducing or eliminating the judgements that focus strictly on homosexuality? I am confused. Not sure what you think would be the best way to go here.

      I am also getting the impression that you believe it is pointless to pressure for the American Christians who went there to denounce this legislation or apologize for their participation. Am I getting that right? Please spell out the steps you think we should take.

    • Eddy

      I’m not sure of the steps we need to take. I see the problem more clearly than I see the solution. I do believe there is some value in recognizing the problem. So that’s a good step one. Step two would be for those who recognize the cultural and communication barrier to discuss and share ideas. Among the remaining steps would be developing an understanding for Uganda’s existing laws and their penalties (assessing their existing legal values)…i.e. when and why did the death penalty become the legal punishment for pedophilia and the other ‘aggravated’ sexual offenses? Was it always that way? If not, when did it ramp up to that extreme? I have a hunch that if we can discover first use of ‘aggravated defilement’, we may find the time period (and the state of mind) of the establishment of the death penalty.

      It would seem that something could possibly be gained by studying how other cultures(including our own) wrestled with eliminating the death penalty and what arguments seemed most effective. Would those same arguments have any impact in Uganda?

      ———–

      My personal belief is that those who participated in this conference should speak their objections to the severity of the penalties to those they have established relationships with in Uganda. In those dialogues, they should try to ascertain to what extent their involvement contributed to the proposed bill. If and when they discover how they contributed, they should follow that channel (i.e. who in the government had an ear to those who put on the conference) and state clearly the compassionate side of their personal viewpoint.

      Apologizing for their participation in the conference is something we Americans cry for…it’s right up our politically correct alleyway. But, to my mind, it would only be seen as a confusion in Uganda. How was Uganda ‘offended’ by their participation? That would need to be at the heart of the apology. Can you think of a way to make such an apology without saying ‘we came here with a good intention but you exploited our viewpoints to your own ends’? I believe there are historical precedents for somewhat backhanded apologies that actually take a slap at the recipients of the apology…but most of us could only dream of becoming such a capable wordsmith or diplomat.

      ————–

      So, we have two different things going on. We have our American scene where just about everything we’ve discussed related to this topic fits. The blame, the outrage, the calls for apologies…that’s all part of OUR cultural war. But I don’t see how any of that would have one ounce of impact on Ugandan policy, do you? So I’m thinking that we need to start thinking beyond our typical American ways. I don’t think it’s going to come down to how loud we scream or how many scream; this one’s going to take something more. This isn’t a person who offended us; it’s not an organization whose views we disagree with; this is a country…a country…a country with it’s own history, it’s own agenda, it’s own way of doing things…I don’t think we can ‘pressure‘ them; I think we need to find a way to reason with them. And before we can do that, we’ve first got to get ourselves invited to the table. This isn’t our table.

    • Michael Bussee

      Can you think of a way to make such an apology without saying ‘we came here with a good intention but you exploited our viewpoints to your own ends’?

      No. That about says it. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. The “American Christians” erred big time, seemed oblivious to what was happening (even though they were warned) and thereby contributed to the mess. Now, I fear, there is little they can do to clean it up. Doesn’t seem that they want to anyway.

      The apology — if it ever comes — will not change the minds or the will of the Ugandan government. Sadly, Warren thinks there will be little opposition to the Bill. The apology is for the Ugandans who will suffer, in part, because of the “American Christians’” mistake. They deserve it.

    • Michael Bussee

      When this Bill passes, those “American Christians” who went to the ex-gay conference will be forever linked to the suffering they helped to cause. Does anyone remember who these “American Christians” were and what organizations they came from? Perhaps, they could form a prison ministry and visit the ones they helped to put there.

      American Christians have some culpability for this situation by going to Uganda and failing to speak against this error. American Christians need to step up and speak now. — Warren Throckmorton, 10/21/09

    • Michael Bussee

      My personal belief is that those who participated in this conference should speak their objections to the severity of the penalties to those they have established relationships with in Uganda. In those dialogues, they should try to ascertain to what extent their involvement contributed to the proposed bill. If and when they discover how they contributed, they should follow that channel (i.e. who in the government had an ear to those who put on the conference) and state clearly the compassionate side of their personal viewpoint.

      Ths sounds consistent with what Warren is calling for — and I agree with you on this, Eddy. I believe they need to make public that they are doing this — and soon. As Warren urged,

      “American Christians need to step up and speak up now.”

    • Lynn David

      Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill can be read at BTB:

      http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2009/10/15/15609

      .

      It’s somewhat disjointed and incoherant. It defines bisexuality as meaning “a person who is sexually attracted to both males and females.” However, it defines homosexual, lesbian and homosexuality only in the context of behaviors. It then never uses the word “bisexuality” or any form thereof in the bill.

      .

      As to what Eddy has said. It is fairly straightforward that we would oppose classifying homosexuality, the behavior, as a crime between consenting adults. That comprises sections 2 – The offence of homosexuality – and 4 – Attempt to commit homosexuality – of the bill. However, section 3 – Aggravated homosexuality – has other odious aspects which would likely ensnarle someone in a consenting adult relationship. The first is that of (f) offender is a serial offender, in which evidently someone who may be seen as unrepentantly gay would be sentenced to death. Then there is this which would elicate the death penalty:

      (g) offender applies, administers or causes to be used by any man or woman any drug, matter or thing with intent to stupefy overpower him or her so as to there by enable any person to have unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex

      But also these offenses:

      9. Procuring homosexuality by threats, etc.

      (1) A person who–

      .

      (a) by threats or intimidation procures or attempts to procure any woman or man to have any unlawful carnal knowledge with any person of the same sex, either in Uganda or elsewhere;

      .

      (b) by false pretences or false representations procures any woman or man to have any unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex, either in Uganda or elsewhere; or

      .

      (2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under this section upon the evidence of one witness only, unless that witness is corroborated in some material particular by evidence implicating the accused.

      .

      10. Detention with intent to commit homosexuality.

      A person who detains another person with the intention to commit acts of homosexuality with him or herself or with any other person commits an offence and is liable on conviction for seven years.

      Now that section of itself is not a problem, however, in conjuction with how “victims” are defined (“victim” includes a person who is involved in homosexual activities against his or her will) and how even adult victims are treated under the law:

      5. Protection, assistance and payment of compensation to victims of homosexuality.

      (1 ) A victim of homosexuality shall not be penalized for any crime commuted as a direct result of his or her involvement in homosexuality.

      .

      (2) A victim of homosexuality shall be assisted to enable his or her views and concerns to be presented and considered at the appropriate stages of the criminal proceedings.

      .

      (3) Where a person is convicted of homosexuality or aggravated homosexuality under sections 2 and 3 of this Act, the court may, in addition to any sentence imposed on the offender, order that the victim of the offence be paid compensation by the offender for any physical, sexual or psychological harm caused to the victim by the offence.

      .

      (4) The amount of compensation shall be determined by the court and the court shall take into account the extent of harm suffered by the victim of the offence. the degree of force used by the offender and medical and other expenses incurred by the victim as a result of the offence.

      .

      6. Confidentiality.

      (1) At any stage of the Investigation or trial of an offence under this Act, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judicial officers and medical practitioners, as well as parties to the case, shall recognize the right to privacy of the victim.

      .

      (2) For the purpose of subsection (I), in cases involving children and other cases where the court considers it appropriate. proceedings of the court shall be conducted in camera, outside the presence of the media.

      .

      (3) Any editor or publisher, reporter or columnist in case of printed materials. announcer or producer in case of television and radio, producer or director of a film to case of the movie industry. or any person utilizing trimedia facilities or information technology who publishes or causes the publicity of the names and personal circumstances or any other information tending to establish the victim’s identity without authority of court commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty currency points.

      Note first, the law is not talking about victims of aggravated homosexuality, but simply victims of homosexuality. Why?

      .

      I believe because there will come times when people like Ssempa and Langa through their ministries will claim those who come to them to be ‘victims of homosexuality.’ They weil likely invoke the idea that their budding ex-gays were drugged or given liquor to make them pliable. Or may even manufacture evidence to back up a claim of threats, intimidation and/or detention. They will then shield these people in their ministries and via this law then aggitate for the death penalty for what was likely only one of what was two willling participants. I have no doubt as to the dishonorable way that such people would use this bill and its 1984esque provisions of turning on a lover, when it could mean imprisonment for both.

      .

      Beyond that there is of course the most foul part of the bill which does not respect the freedom of speech and thought, that being: 13. Promotion of homosexuality & 14. Failure to disclose the offence. Certainly as Americans we understand that free speech and thought no matter how we may disagree with it is still a right we cherish for ourselves as well as others with whom we would disagree.

    • Lynn David

      Finally there are these provisions of the bill:

      18. Nullification of inconsistent international treaties, protocols, declarations and conventions.

      (1) Any International legal instrument whose provisions are contradictory to the spirit and provisions enshrined in this Act, are null and void to the extent of their inconsistency.

      .

      (2) Definitions of “sexual orientation”, “sexual rights”, “sexual minorities”, “gender identity” shall not be used in anyway to legitimize homosexuality, gender identity disorders and related practices in Uganda.

      .

      19. Regulations.

      The Minister may, by statutory instrument. make regulations generally for better carrying out the provisions of this Act.

      Americans have often stated that Iran by breaking international conventions has become a rogue nation? Shall we then say the same concerning Uganda when the nullify the UN charter of rights? Will their ‘Minister’ consider that the application of no-knock warrents as concerns homosexuality is fair and constitutional, despite what their courts have said in the past. There is much to fear here, when a country makes a scapegoat of a class of citizens.

    • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

      What do do then? Anything?

      Pray! Not just anything, the only thing, as Oswald Chambers liked to say.

    • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

      We have awakened some folks to the problem in Uganda. I assure you God has been well aware of it all along. He is Lord of the nations. He will judge the actions of all involved one day. We are nursing our consciences by speaking out here. We still have myriads of problems of our own to address. And prayer covers them all.


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