Uganda’s parliament on Twitter said Museveni had approved a new draft of the legislation that had been passed overwhelmingly this month. Lawmakers defended the measures as a protection of national culture and values.
The president had called on MPs to rework the bill, although most of the hard-line provisions that caused an outcry in the West and warnings of diplomatic repercussions were retained.
The amended version said that identifying as gay would not be criminalized. However, “engaging in acts of homosexuality” would be an offense punishable by life imprisonment.
Although Museveni had advised lawmakers to delete a provision making “aggravated homosexuality”, a capital offence, lawmakers rejected that move, meaning that repeat offenders could be sentenced to death. Uganda has not resorted to capital punishment for many years.
The United States, European Union and international human rights groups have all condemned the anti-gay bill. A UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk has described it as “probably among the worst of its kind in the world.”
But it enjoys broad public support in Uganda, a devout majority-Christian nation. Homosexuals have faced persistent discrimination in recent years in Uganda. Same-sex relationships have been attacked as an import from the West.
Discussion of the bill in parliament was laced with homophobic slurs, and Museveni himself referred to gay people as “deviants.”
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