Religious Leaders Led by Martin Ssempa Demand Debate on Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009

Published: April 7, 2011

Religious leaders lead by Pastor Martin Ssempa gathered at Uganda’s Parliament on Wednesday to demand that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 be debated. They delivered a petition signed by over two million people to Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Ssekandi.

The Daily Monitor reports:

Anti-homosexuality activists have presented a petition in Parliament, calling for the passing of the anti-gay Bill. The petition, signed by two million people countrywide, was presented to the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Ssekandi, yesterday by anti-gay activists led by Pastor Martin Ssempa.

“We are not here to hang the gays as people have speculated but to protect young men and girls being recruited into the practice,” Pastor Ssempa said. They also listed 19 organisations which they claimed are promoting homosexuality in the country.
Mr Ssekandi promised that the Bill would be debated.

“The mover of the Bill (David Bahati) is still a member of the 9th Parliament and even if the current Parliament doesn’t debate it, the new Parliament will do it,” Mr Ssekandi said.

He added: “Since the Bill was tabled, I have received numerous calls from the international community to throw it out but I always tell them that I don’t have those powers.”

Mr Ssekandi also told the team that their petition would be considered by the committee.

The Bill, tabled in Parliament by Mr Bahati as a private members Bill in 2009, seeks among others to imprison for life anyone convicted of “the offence of homosexuality,” punish “aggravated homosexuality” and offences like having gay sex while HIV-positive by a death penalty upon conviction.

It also forbids any “promotion of homosexuality” and incarcerates gay-rights defenders.
Pastor Ssempa said there were allegations of huge sums of money being brought into the country to influence people against passing the Bill.

The Bill is still before the parliamentary Committee on Legal and Parliament Affairs although the committee chair said government Bills before his committee take precedence.

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