The Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni has refused to sign the new anti-homosexuality bill passed by parliament in December. Under the bill, offenders could be imprisoned for life. The bill also includes jail time for just providing services to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
President Yoweri Museveni’s opposition to the bill comes despite pressure from evangelicals as well from lawmakers from his own party. President Museveni called for the bill to be revised and wondered what to do ‘‘with an abnormal person? Do we kill him/her? Do we imprison him/her? Or we do contain him/her?’’ Museveni said homosexuals need economic rehabilitation, not the threat of severe punishment.
On the other hand, some African Countries are pushing for tougher anti-Gay laws in Africa. Nigeria’s president has signed into law a bill that bans gay marriage, gay rights advocacy and public displays of affection between same-sex couples. Homosexual acts were already illegal in Nigeria. Human rights activists say the new law reflects a larger trend to ramp up anti-gay legislation and penalties. Nigeria’s new Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act has been condemned abroad but applauded at home.
Same-sex acts are illegal in 31 sub-Saharan countries. Actual enforcement varies widely and the punishment ranges from years in prison to death penalty.
In South Africa, however, gay marriage and same-sex adoption are legal. And countries such as Mozambique and Botswana have outlawed forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
But gay men and woman say discrimination and danger persist throughout Africa. They can have trouble getting housing, jobs and even medical care and can face extortion and abuse from police.
The push for tougher anti-gay legislation and policing in recent years has been accompanied by mob violence, the murders of activists, and street protests.
Defenders of anti-gay legislation in Africa said homosexuality is a threat to society and that the laws are about upholding religious and cultural values.
But analysts said politics play a role as well and the laws can reflect a scapegoating of the LGBT community.
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Source : VOA