Executed for Being Gay

Published: August 31, 2011

"You can see it creates a very difficult environment for anybody who’s gay there," Osburn said.

The legislation would also criminalise people who advocate for GLBT rights, or who provide social or medical services to GLBT people, and would require Ugandan citizens to turn in anyone who they know is homosexual.

"In Uganda, there are those trying to keep the anti-homosexuality bill from becoming law," Osburn said, adding that he does not see as much movement to overturn the existing death penalty laws in the five countries.

One prominent Ugandan gay activist, David Kato, was murdered in January 2011, after a Ugandan magazine published a list of prominent gay rights activists and their contact details, with a banner over the photos that urged, "Hang Them".

"It’s a lynch mob mentality. You have an elected parliamentarian, Mr. Bahati, who introduced this bill and has been pushing. He believes gay people are evil," Osburn said.

"You then have him getting the support of media where gay people are under the microscope, doing this McCarthyistic list, which adds to the mentality of going after folks who are a danger in the society," he said.

One of the leading supporters of the movement to execute homosexuals in Uganda is a minister, Martin Ssempa.

Incidentally, one man connected with Ssempa who visited with his congregation in 2004, is a U.S. pastor, Peter Waldron, who currently works on the campaign of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican from Minnesota and one of the leading candidates for president of the United States.

"The sad, frightening part of it, the homophobic stuff in Uganda is being propped up by the evangelists from the U.S. They’ve come over there and whipped up a frenzy," Beasley said.

And so, while the proponents of homophobic legislation in Africa argue that homosexuality is an Western import, there is evidence that the homophobia itself has been the U.S. export.

"I just left Uganda. I think it’s draconian, it’s totally out of step. The death penalty, regardless of what the offence is, is not in keeping with a civilized people," Beasley said.

"The ultimate decision about judging life is left to God," he added.

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