Ugandan clergy: gays should not be killed but instead imprisoned for life
Making their input in the Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009 yesterday, leaders from the Church of Uganda, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, and the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, unanimously supported the Bill, but called for a change in the penalties.
“If you kill the people, to whom will the message go? We need to have imprisonment for life if the person is still alive,” said Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, the provincial secretary of the Church of Uganda.
Mwesigye says the clause in the Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009 which proposes death as a penalty for homosexuality should be removed.
The tabling on the Bill on 15 October sent mixed reactions in Uganda, including from the international rights groups.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission expressed concerns about ongoing detentions in Uganda based on charges of homosexuality, and called for the dismissal of a bill that would severely curtail the rights of homosexuals.
The Ugandan minister for Ethics and Integrity, Dr James Nsaba Buturo said once the bill is passed into law, it will rid Uganda of the vice that has continued to be a menace in secondary schools.
Once the bill is passed into law, anyone found practicing homosexuality will face 14 years in prison whereas those found guilty of operating brothels where homosexuals meet will also be liable to 14 years imprisonment.
Gay Ugandans and activists hope that the international community will condemn the bill strongly enough that either Parliament or Uganda's executive branch will back down. Approximately 40 percent of the country's government budget comes from international donors, with most funding from the United States and Europe.