The bill also targets those who ‘promote homosexuality’.
Politicians in Uganda have brought back the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act 2014, known as ‘Kill the Gays Bill’, but they will also expand it to involve those seen to be ‘promoting’ homosexuality.
Currently, homosexuality in Uganda can be punished with up to life imprisonment.
Speaking to Reuters, the Ethics and Integrity Minister, Simon Lokodo said: “Homosexuality is not natural to Ugandans, but there has been a massive recruitment by gay people in schools, and especially among the youth, where they are promoting the falsehood that people are born like that.
“Our current penal law is limited. It only criminalises the act. We want it made clear that anyone who is even involved in promotion and recruitment has to be criminalised. Those that do grave acts will be given the death sentence.”
The bill only failed to pass last time on a technicality, with not enough MPs voting in favour. However, Lokodo said the government has been lobbying MPs in the Parliament, and is confident that the bill will pass.
Lokodo also said the country wouldn’t be too worried if other countries began restricting aid because of the law. “It is a concern,” he said.
“But we are ready. We don’t like blackmailing. Much as we know that this is going to irritate our supporters in budget and governance, we can’t just bend our heads and bow before people who want to impose a culture which is foreign to us.”
Pepe Julian Onzeima, from Sexual Minorities Uganda, warned of the dangers the law would bring, saying: “When the law was introduced last time, it whipped up homophobic sentiment and hate crimes.
“Hundreds of LGBT+ people have been forced to leave the country as refugees and more will follow if this law is enacted. It will criminalise us from even advocated for LGBT+ rights, let alone supporting and protecting sexual minorities.”
Onzeima noted how three gay men and a transgender woman had already been murdered in Uganda in this year alone. The latest was last week, when a gay man was bludgeoned to death.
Earlier this year, Brunei announced that it was planning to introduce the death penalty for homosexuality, and gay men would be punished with stoning.
Boycotting campaigns of Brunei-owned hotels were started by Hollywood star George Clooney. His campaign was backed by figures like Sir Elton John and Dua Lipa, and the TV Choice Awards announced it wouldn’t hold its awards ceremony at the hotel over the new laws. Sir Richard Branson also called on businesses in countries hostile to LGBTQ rights to lobby for equal laws.
After these campaigns, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiwah, made a public announcement saying that the country will not enforce the death penalty for gay sex.
In the statement, which in a rare move was translated into English, the Sultan said: “I am aware that there are many questions and misperceptions with regard to the implementation of the SPCO [Syariah Penal Code Order]. However, we believe that once these have been cleared, the merit of the law will be evident.