Uganda’s Parliament has passed a bill calling for tougher punishments for homosexual acts, including life imprisonment for those considered repeat offenders. It remains for the president of Uganda to sign it into law.
Sky News reported that the death penalty, which had been in the original draft of the bill in 2010, was not included in the final version. The bill also criminalizes the public promotion of homosexuality.
The news article reports that David Bahati, the lawmaker who initiated the bill, used religious language to praise the bill’s passage. Bahati stated:
“This is victory for Uganda. I am glad the parliament has voted against evil.”
“Because we are a God-fearing nation, we value life in a holistic way.
“It is because of those values that members of parliament passed this bill regardless of what the outside world thinks.”
Frank Mugisha, the leading Ugandan gay activist, who is a Catholic, criticized the Parliament’s action, saying:
“I am officially illegal.”
Because Catholics are the largest denomination in Uganda, making up over 40% of the population, it is imperative that Pope Francis speak out against this terrible human rights development. Uganda’s Catholic bishops have been ambivalent about the bill, sometimes supporting it, sometimes speaking weakly against it. So, it will take Pope Francis’ strong moral leadership to make any kind of impact on this very Catholic nation. We need Pope Francis’ voice to stop the punitive measures against LGBT people in Nigeria, India, and other nations, too.
While it is a busy time of year for all, please consider taking a moment to write to the Pope to ask him to speak out against this bill. His mailing address is:
His Holiness Pope Francis, Apostolic Palace, Vatican City 11020
Please keep Uganda’s gay and lesbian people in your prayers during this holy season.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
November 14, 2012: Catholic Leaders Must Speak Out Against Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill