Uganda has given us a frightening example of how much influence foreign lobbyists can have. Even Richard Cohen, who's ex-gay manifesto and credibility have been thouroughly trounced still wields an influence on lawmakers there. but why listen to me...Rachel Maddow does a much better job of breaking it down....video after the fold.
So they struck the death penalty and life imprisonment from the bill. Thats a very very good thing...but lets not do our victory dances yet...read on....
As Rachel pointed out, there are still a lot of nasty clauses in that bill that can send gays to jail for for years merely for being gay, not to mention the laws demanding imprisonment of gays that already existed before this bill. Also, Those who influenced Ugandan lawmakers into crafting this bill still haven't spoken up to fix the mess they created....Though I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that if I were you.
I have been following the issue at the suddenly very popular blog, www.gayuganda.blogspot.com and it has been an eye opener. Listening to the tiny news blurbs that we get on the Ugandan issue would lead all of America to believe that the crisis is averted...not yet.
Given a purpose and a healthy amount of inertia by American evengelicals, Ugandan religious leaders are still clammoring for the law to be implemented intact and they are passing copies of the law out to parishioners to read. In addition, they are branding opposition to the law as "colonialist influence"....thats an interesting spin..... Where do they think they got that religion from anyway? Were it not for colonialists, they would not be subscribing to that set of beliefs to begin with.
Some of the clauses that still stand:
- Criminalize all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda with fines and imprisonment of between five and seven years.
- Criminalize the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment. This penalty may be reduced in the new version, but the act still appears to be criminalized to some extent.
- Add a clause which forces friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24-hours of learning about that individual’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment of up to three years.
- Add an extra-territorial and extradition provisions, allowing Uganda to prosecute LGBT Ugandans living abroad.
- Void all international treaties, agreements and human rights obligations which conflict with this bill.
Good luck Gay Uganda...our prayers are with you.
UPDATE....*pastor Rick Warren issues a statement condemning Uganda's proposed law.