In defiance of outcry from human rights organizations, Ugandan MPs on Thursday brought legislation to parliament that calls for severe new punishments for same-sex relationships in a nation where homosexuality is already banned.
Speaker of the House Annet Anita Among, at the first stage in an expedited procedure to turn the idea into law, forwarded the measure to a house committee for review.
She added in a homophobic-laced speech before parliament that there would be “a public hearing” in which sexual minorities would be permitted to participate.
She urged everyone to go and share their opinions, even homosexuals. The measure is being introduced at a time when in conservative Uganda, rumors on social media are spreading that unidentified foreign entities are encouraging homosexuality.
Anybody who partakes in same-sex conduct or “holds out” as LGBTQ might be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail under the new law. The length of the parliamentary procedure is unknown. When it was time to vote, it was said that lawmakers would do so in front of their colleagues, one at a time.
“This is the time you are going to show us if you are a homo or not,” she said.
Due to legislation from the colonial era, Uganda is infamous for its rejection of homosexuality and its stringent Christian beliefs on sexuality in general.
Nonetheless, since the country’s 1962 separation from the United Kingdom, there has never been a conviction for consenting same-sex behavior. According to rights organizations, the measure would lead to further persecution of a defenseless minority group.
A court later overturned a statute that Ugandan lawmakers approved in 2014 that mandated life in prison for anybody found engaging in homosexual sex. In a statement released on Thursday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called the new legislation “a revised and more egregious version” of the 2014 bill.