by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
Around 50 gays and their supporters protested at Uganda’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations on Nov. 19 against a draconian anti-gay bill pending in Uganda’s Parliament.
The legislation bans anything and everything gay, including: touching someone in a gay way; funding or sponsoring gay groups; broadcasting, publishing or marketing anything gay; advocating for homosexuality; renting to or harboring a homosexual; engaging in “aggravated homosexuality”; and failing to report to authorities one’s awareness of the existence of a gay person within 24 hours of learning the person exists. “Aggravated homosexuality” applies to repeat offenders and people who are HIV positive. It is punished with death, while the other crimes carry penalties as high as life in prison.
The bill has been strongly denounced by the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs’ chair, vice chair and ranking minority member, along with openly lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), who called the legislation “egregious.”
The New York demo was organized by the African Services Committee, Health Gap, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch, the Council for Global Equality, ACT UP/Philadelphia, Advocates for Youth and Proyecto Sol Philadelphia. A similar protest took place at the Ugandan Embassy in Washington, D.C.
For the full text of the bill, see tinyurl.com/hatebill. For information on how to help fight the bill, see http://tinyurl.com/iglhrc-ug.