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Uganda’s parliament has passed a bill that, once signed into law, will severely punish those in same-sex relations. It is purportedly aimed at “safeguarding the sovereignty, morals and culture of this country.”

The Anti Homosexuality bill 2023 (pdf) passed yesterday (March 21) seeks to protect traditional family values by prohibiting any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex, and the promotion of such acts. Starkly, it makes even identifying oneself as LGBTQ harshly punishable.

“We recognize that the constitution contains non-derogable rights and in this process, the House has striven to recognize those rights,” House speaker Anita Among said yesterday. “But the norms and aspirations of the people of Uganda will always remain supreme.”

Death penalty for aggravated homosexuality

The bill, which now awaits president Yoweri Museveni’s assent, has provisions for the arrest and imprisonment of LGBTQ people for 10 years, and up to 20 years depending on the nature of their offense.

In extreme cases, the punishment will be death. The bill deems such cases “aggravated homosexuality” if the victim is aged below 14 or above 75, has a physical or mental disability, or has contracted through the sexual act an illness that has no scientific cure. Death will also be applicable if the accused is a parent, guardian, or serial offender.

NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) has voiced its concern, noting that the bill violates several human rights and freedoms.

Uganda has been openly against same-sex unions since 2009. The killing of LGBTQ people and activists has been commonplace in the country.

“Homosexuals are deviations from normal. Is it by nature or by nurture? We need to answer those questions. We need a medical opinion on that,” president Museveni told parliament on March 16.

This bill itself was first passed by parliament in 2014 but got nullified due to a lack of quorum. It has now put the embattled community on guard again.

“People are receiving calls that ‘if you don’t give me money, I will report that you are gay.’ Even some families are reporting their own children to the police,” one activist told BBC.

This content was originally published here.