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Dominic Dudley / Alamy Stock Photo
Dominic Dudley / Alamy Stock Photo
World News

Archbishop of Wales urges Ugandan counterpart to condemn the country’s anti-homosexuality bill

by Kelly Valencia

The Archbishop of Wales will write a letter to his counterpart Rt Rev Stephen Kaziimba, asking him to stand up against Uganda's latest decision to increase penalties for LGBT+ individuals.

“I want to know what the Church of Uganda has to say [as] I'm sure they will have a view on this. But I'm interested in what that is,” Rt Rev Andrew John told Premier Christian News.

“What I hope he will say to me is that they do not support this move because it so clearly contradicts the statement that the Anglican Church has made about LGBTQI people over the last two decades,” Archbishop Andrew continued.

On Tuesday, the country's parliament passed a bill intensifying the crackdown on homosexual acts, which are already illegal in the nation.

The bill contains several new criminal offenses, including life in prison and the death penalty in some cases for those who identify as members of the LGBT community.

Frank Mugisha, a prominent Ugandan LGBTQ activist, told NBC news the law criminalises "being an LGBTQ person" and has accused the government of  "trying to erase the entire existence of any LGBTQ Ugandan."

For the leader of the Church in Wales, the bill takes Uganda down “deeply disturbing” direction.

If it became legislation, friends, family and members of the community would have a duty to report individuals in same-sex relationships to the authorities.

Uganda has one of the toughest legislations against homosexuality in the world and is one of the Anglican provinces where identifying as an LGBT+ member is seen by many Christians as an externally imposed aspect on individuals through societal pressures rather inherent to your identity.

Speaking of the different views in Anglican provinces on this matter, Archbishop Andrew said while they disagree on “whether or not people of the same sex can marry or whether or not we ought to bless their relationships,” the common ground is the agreement that "human beings must be treated with respect at all times”.

“So to criminalise people's activities, and to put that the death penalty, as the sanction at the end of it is utterly grotesque. I hope the archbishop will write back to me and say that he does not support this, and I will make his views on this very public,“ Archbishop Andrew added.

If the new law is enforced, the White House has cautioned Uganda about potential economic consequences. Archbishop Andrew said the UK government should take similar action.

“I'd like them to raise [this] at the highest level, with the Ugandan government and what they think is an appropriate response to what many people will just be astonished and aghast at and to seek to use the levers of persuasion and reason in order to see this bill withdrawn as soon as possible.”

He added: “I really do hope that our own government and the Welsh Government in particular will write to Uganda and express their deep concern about this.”

The legislation is currently awaiting approval from President Yoweri Museveni, who has the option to either veto it or endorse it and enact it into law.

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