The Australian Senate has passed a motion condemning anti-gay laws before the parliaments of Uganda and Nigeria.
The motion was put forward by Greens party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and passed ‘on the voices’ – meaning that support in the chamber was such that no vote count was needed.
‘It is genuinely horrifying that there are Governments in this world that want to punish and imprison people simply for being who they are,’ Senator Hanson-Young said following the vote on Friday.
‘The Australian Parliament has condemned the bills in both Uganda and Nigeria and I call upon the Government to do all it can diplomatically to urge those nations to remove these disgraceful pieces of legislation.
‘While more needs to be done to create equality in Australia, we are lucky to live in a country where people can feel safe in being themselves.’
The motion read, ‘the Senate notes with grave concern the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, re‑tabled in 2012, which would increase the penalties imposed in Uganda for homosexuality.’
‘[The Senate] notes with grave concern the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Law in Nigeria, passed by Nigeria’s parliament but not yet signed into law, which prohibits same sex marriage and civil union by imposing penalties including imprisonment of 14 years, and prohibits the activities of gay couples and organizations by imposing penalties including imprisonment of 10 years.
‘[The Senate] supports the Australian Government continuing to urge the governments of Uganda and Nigeria to uphold the human rights of lesbian, gay and transgender people in accordance with their commitments under international law.’
There are mixed reports over whether the Ugandan bill still contains a death penalty clause.
The news comes on the back of 15,000 people in the UK making their opposition known to the Ugandan Government in just 24 hours through a campaign organized by Amnesty International.