The wretched anti-gay bill that's been bumming around Uganda's parliament since 2009 came perilously close to passage today, the last day of the country's legislative session. This, again, is the one that would jail for life those who participate in "homosexual acts," and also imprison landlords who rent rooms to known homosexuals. The original version of the bill mandated the death penalty for "active homosexuals living with HIV," but that has since been dropped. Still, kind of a rough bill! Good thing they decided to shelve it today.
The bill is no longer on the legislative schedule, thanks to loud complaints and threats yesterday from international aid organizations, the State Department, and powerful gays like Rep. Barney Frank.
With the current parliament about to be dissolved, the bill appears to have been put on hold indefinitely – but campaigners warned it could be reintroduced in the next session.
John Alimadi, an MP, told the Associated Press the bill may have been dropped from the agenda because of the worldwide outcry against it.
Campaigners welcomed the development. Christopher Seneno, a Ugandan bishop, said: "It's good news. We wouldn't like this bill even to be debated. That will be dangerous because there is a lot of misinformation and excitement. Just with the bill being debated, anything can happen to LGBT people."
Seneno admitted he did not know whether the bill was dead in the water or could be revived at a later date.
[Image via AP]