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Uganda: Anti-gay bill up for debate and vote anytime

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Uganda: Anti-gay bill up for debate and vote anytime

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI - Debate on Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill is imminent after the David Bahati measure was reportedly added to the parliamentary schedule, Pink News reports.

The bill has been scheduled for "an order of business" and could be passed today, Nov 22, or "anytime thereafter," the report states. It is expected to pass easily, and then it will be up to the country's president, Yoweri Museveni, to sign it into law or veto it. If Museveni opts for a veto, the Ugandan Assembly could overturn it.

The on-again, off-again bill received a booster shot in the aftermath of a verbal clash between Uganda's parliamentary speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird at a recent conference in Quebec City. In condemning the draconian measure, which reportedly still calls for the death penalty in cases of "aggravated homosexuality," Baird called on Uganda to "protect its people regardless of sex, sexuality or faith."

Kadaga took umbrage, countering Baird's remarks with a statement of her own: "On behalf of the Uganda delegation and the people of Uganda, I protest in the strongest terms the arrogance exhibited by the foreign minister of Canada, who spent his entire presentation attacking Uganda and promoting homosexuality."

Upon her return to Uganda, she called for a vote on the bill. Kadaga, who reportedly has ties to the evangelical Christian organization Family Life Network, which has been pushing for the bill's adoption, says Ugandans are "demanding" the bill's passage, with anti-gay activists saying its enactment would be a "Christmas gift" to the country.

Gay rights activist Frank Mugisha says the bill won't derail the gay rights fight. "We cannot have oppression forever."


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