A gay couple who fled from Uganda's homophobic laws married in Sweden, and are now allowed to stay after worldwide support
A married Ugandan gay couple have won their case to stay in Sweden.
Lawrence Kaala obtained a residency permit in Sweden yesterday (28 February), after fears he would be deported back to native Uganda with its strict anti-gay laws.
Earlier this year, Kaala and his partner Jimmy Sswerwadda legally married in a church, an apparent first for a Ugandan gay couple.
But as soon as they married, Sweden’s Migration Board (SMD) issued a deportation order for Kaala.
In 2008, Sswerwadda left after being arrested and beaten for ‘promoting homosexuality’. He left behind his long-term partner Kaala, as ‘he would have insisted on coming with and that would have put our lives at risk.’
As Uganda’s hatred of gay people grew, Kaala said he had to suffer verbal and physical attacks.
Once his family turned their backs on him, he too was forced to flee.
By chance, Kaala also travelled to Sweden, settled and one day signed up for a magazine subscription to Kom Ut (Come Out).
When he saw a copy of Come Out with Sswerwadda on the cover, and contacted the man he ‘never stopped loving’.
In a Facebook message to all their supporters, the couple said: ‘Sometimes it takes a long time, but the truth will always out in the end.’
In Uganda, gay rights activists are now waiting for the return of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in parliament. While it is still on the order paper for discussion, it continues to be delayed.