Kampala, Uganda – (African Boulevard News) – The Ugandan Parliament recently passed a new version of the anti-LGBTQ bill, which has elicited mixed reactions from the public. The bill, which had been in the works for some time, was first introduced in 2009 and caused an international uproar when it was passed in 2014, only to be nullified by the Constitutional Court.
The new anti-gay bill, as it is popularly referred to, removed a clause that appeared to criminalize identifying as LGBTQ. However, it still imposes tough penalties on individuals who engage in same-sex relationships, ranging from life imprisonment to hefty fines. Moreover, the bill will also criminalize the promotion of homosexuality and allow for the forced testing of individuals suspected of being gay or lesbian.
One of the key highlights of the bill is the proposed ‘conversion therapy,’ a controversial practice aimed at ‘curing’ individuals of same-sex attraction. The practice has been discredited globally and criticized by human rights organizations, who believe it leads to depression, anxiety, and even suicide. According to the new bill, any person who engages in ‘conversion therapy’ will be committing an offense, which could attract a jail term of up to five years.
As expected, the new anti-gay bill has elicited mixed reactions from the public. While the move has been praised by some conservative groups who see homosexuality as an affront to traditional African values, it has been heavily criticized by human rights organizations both locally and internationally. The critics argue that the bill is a violation of the rights of marginalized communities and could lead to more discrimination, harassment, and violence against LGBTQ individuals.
Nicholas Opiyo, a human rights lawyer, expressed his disappointment with the new bill, stating, “We’ve taken strides in this country to protect minority rights, but time and time again, we keep taking steps backward. This bill is a shame, and it is an attack on individual freedoms and personal choices.”
Despite the international backlash and the negative impact on the country’s reputation, Ugandan lawmakers still maintain that the new bill is essential in promoting traditional African values and protecting the family unit.
In conclusion, the new version of the anti-LGBTQ bill has been passed by the Ugandan Parliament, and although it removed the criminalization of identifying as LGBTQ, the bill still imposes harsh penalties on individuals engaging in same-sex relationships, promoting homosexuality, or suspected of being gay or lesbian. The move has been heavily criticized by human rights organizations, who view it as a violation of the rights of marginalized communities and a step backwards in the protection of minority rights.