Uganda’s president says gay people should not be killed, as the country debates passing a law which would give the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is scheduled for discussion in parliament and, if passed, men or women who have gay sex could be imprisoned for life.
Those guilty of ‘aggravated homosexuality’ include HIV positive people who have gay sex or ‘serial offenders’. They will be executed.
President Yoweri Museveni says he does not support the execution of gay people, but does support banning the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality.
‘If there are some homosexuals, we shall not kill or persecute them but there should be no promotion of homosexuality,’ he said at the swearing in of a new head of the Anglican Church of Uganda.
‘We cannot accept promotion of homosexuality as if it is a good thing.’
His comments follow signs that the government is trying to distance itself from the proposed legislation after Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi suggested Uganda was not ready to proceed with the bill because the penal code already provides penalties for homosexuality.
Even if it is approved by parliament, it would be up to Museveni to sign it into law.
The bill has been tabled for debate in Uganda’s parliament since the beginning of December.
However, parliament closed for the festive break on Friday (14 December) and it is unlikely the bill will be raised again until politicians return in January 2013, despite Speaker Rebecca Kadaga promising the law as a ‘Christmas present’ to her homophobic supporters.