Ugandan Legislation Seeks to Legally Execute Gays

by Ryan Thomas

Uganda has recently intensified efforts to persecute (literally prosecute) homosexuals in the East African country. Homosexual acts are already a criminal offense under Ugandan penal codes, but legislation recently introduced in the Ugandan Parliament will make anyone who admits to or self-identifies as being a homosexual a criminal. In a recent speech at Georgetown University, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton characterized the Ugandan legislation as an “instrument of oppression.”

The proposed legislation includes a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison for homosexuals as well as a penalty of up to 7 years for any Ugandan who does not report homosexuals or homosexual activities to law enforcement authorities. Provisions in the legislation allow for the death penalty for Ugandan homosexuals who commit same-sex sexual assault and for those who have HIV-AIDS and are sexually active. Furthermore, capital punishment is also allowed for “serial offenders,” or in effect, LGBT people who refuse to stay in the closet.

Frankly, I don’t see what Clinton has to say that would be overly helpful. LBGT Americans are basically second class citizens – we just don’t execute them. Even up until 2003, 14 states in the United States had anti-sodomy laws (or anti-LGBT statutes) on ‘the books,’ and these laws were only struck down after a Supreme Court decision determined they were unconstitutional. The United States allows for public referendums to dictate who is or who isn’t entitled to civil rights, but representatives of the United States government trot around the globe lecturing foreign officials who are overtly anti-homosexual in substance or spirit. Homophobia is just as prevalent in the United States as much as it is in Uganda. The difference between us and them is the fact they are much more ‘in your face’ about it – we like to be ‘politically correct’ and talk in circles.

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