Slain Ugandan LGBT civil rights leader David Kato. Kato's heinous murder and circus-like funeral may have helped bring down Bahati's anti-gay bill.
A post at Eruptions from the Foot of the Volcano seems to say that the infamous, "Kill the Gays" bill in Uganda has been defeated in Parliament. The bill, sponsored by MP David Bahati, would allow for the execution of some LGBT people, and jail time and fines for others... as well as punishment for those straights who don't turn in their gay neighbors. This news comes a day after the United Nations Human Rights Council reaffirmed its statement that LGBT rights are human rights and condemned of violence against LGBT people. The United States and some European nations took the lead on this at the UN.
This is great news. There has been a lot of pressure coming from outside the African country to not pass this bill. Some reports indicate officials are pulling the measure because there are already anti-gay laws on the book. If only such an argument would work in states like Florida where we not only put anti-gay language in statutes... we seal it up in the state constitution!
Meanwhile, MP David Bahati, the parliamentary leader of this "Kill the Gays" effort and who has been a disciple of US evangelicals including Rick Warren and Scott Lively, is defiantly saying, "the government is aware that 95 percent of Ugandans do not condone homosexuality."
Even if that is true, Uganda does not exist in a vacuum. There has been international outcry after he introduced the bill in 2009. The scurrilous rag, Rolling Stone (not the rock-n-roll magazine), published the photos and addresses of "100 homosexuals" who the paper said should be hanged. One of those pictured was LGBT leader David Kato. Kato was beaten to death with a hammer in his apartment. More disgrace fell upon the country when the Anglican Church of Uganda refused to allow a priest to preside at Kato's funeral, and instead sent a lay reader who launched into an anti-gay rant in the middle of the service. It would seem Bahati, and Archbishop Orombi, and US evangelicals propping up this madness overplayed their hand.
The defeat of this bill is indeed good news. But our eyes must not leave Uganda and other African nations where our LGBT brothers and sisters live in fear. Perfect love casts out fear. We need to support organizations that are offering safety to LGBT people, and keep up the demands from our secular and religious leaders to speak out against the violence and sanction governments that support imprisonment, torture and killing of gay people.