|Uganda MP David Bahati|
Some great news out of Africa today. While until now, it seemed that Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality (“Kill the Gays”) Bill was being fast-tracked into law to the point where it could even have been enacted today (Wednesday), it seems that the renewed international outburst of condemnation has led to the Ugandan parliament dropping the bill for now:
KAMPALA, Uganda — Uganda's parliament appeared Wednesday to have dropped plans to debate a controversial bill that once proposed the death penalty for some gays and lesbians following an outcry from U.S. leaders and rights groups.
The bill was first proposed in 2009 but wasn't debated until last Friday. It had been scheduled to be debated before the full parliament on Wednesday but was dropped from the schedule.
The future of the bill remained murky as Wednesday was parliament's last scheduled day of session. It wasn't clear if the proposed legislation could be carried forward to the next session or if the author would have to offer a new bill, which he has said he will do if needed.
The original bill would mandate a death sentence in some cases, part of the reason it attracted global attention. The bill's author, David Bahati, has said a new version would not contain the death penalty, but no amended version has been released publicly.
One member of parliament, John Arumadri, said Wednesday that the bill may have been dropped from the agenda because of the worldwide outcry against it.
Now, being a homosexual in Uganda already isn’t much of a picnic, but at least it’ll be a while before gay and lesbian Ugandans are again faced with the prospect of being put to death by their government for being in love with someone with the wrong set of genitals.