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Church of Uganda ‘grateful’ for harsh anti-gay law

by Kelly Valencia

The Church of Uganda has welcomed the government’s new tough anti-homosexuality legislation that could see people sentenced to life imprisonment.

On Monday, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed the legislation which does not criminalise those who identify as homosexual but imposes the death penalty for so-called “aggravated cases” which include cases of sexual relations involving people infected with HIV as well as with minors.

In a statement, the Archbishop of Uganda, Dr Stephen Kaziimba praised the nation’s president’s “diligent work” in crafting the bill and reiterated that the Church only supports “life imprisonment” for homosexuality crimes.

“We are also grateful that the Act builds on existing laws by offering greater protection of children through strong anti-grooming measures, strong restrictions on promotion, and protection of children by not allowing those convicted under the act to be employed in organizations that work directly with children. We also appreciate that the Act protects people from false allegations.

“As expressed in our responses to earlier versions of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill over the last fifteen years, the Church of Uganda supports life and, in principle, does not support the death penalty. As grievous as aggravated defilement and aggravated homosexuality are, we do not support the death penalty for those crimes, and continue to recommend life imprisonment instead,” the statement read.

For Archbishop Stephen, homosexuality is “being forced” on the country “by foreign actors” against their will, culture and religious beliefs.

“They disguise themselves as “human rights activists,” but are corrupting real human rights by adding LGBTQ to their agenda,” he continued.

Drawing a link to between decline in population growth in countries where LGBT laws are approved, Archbishop Stephen thanked the president for not “surrendering” and for “protecting Uganda” from a “path of self-destruction”.

The new legislation is one of the most rigid anti-LGBTQ laws in the world, with the UK government calling it “deeply discriminatory” and US President Joe Biden describing it as “a tragic violation of universal human rights”. 

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