Several Church of England bishops have condemned Uganda’s new amended legislation criminalising same-sex conduct.
The bishops of London, Chelmsford, Newcastle, Worcester and Selby, are some of the clerics who have shared their discontent with the policy.
Under the new legilastion, those who identify as gay but do not engage in homosexual acts will not be criminalised but those in same-sex relationships face a warrant maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The bill also includes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, which involves sex with a minor, incest and having sex while HIV positive.
Rt Rev Sarah Mullally described the situation in Uganda as amounting to “an attack on fundamental human dignity and international human rights”, while Rt Rev John Inge called the law “absolutely appalling”.
The bishops’ statements come days after the Church of Uganda welcomed the policy and thanked the government for “protecting Uganda” from a “path of self-destruction”.
The church’s Archbishop, Most Rev Dr Stephen Kaziimba, praised the nation’s president’s “diligent work” and reiterated that the Church only supports “life imprisonment” for homosexuality crimes and not the death penalty.
However, his statement sparked controversy in England with many calling on the “mother church” and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, to comment on the issue. Neither the Church of England nor Lambeth Palace have publicly mentioned it at the time of writing.
Premier has contacted both the Church of England and Lambeth Palace for a response.
When the policy was first announced, a Lambeth Palace spokesperson confirmed Archbishop Welby had written to the president of Uganda but no further details were released.
The Archbishop of Wales, Most Rev Andrew John, wrote a letter to Archbishop Stephen at the time. In it, he described the policy as “unChrist-like”. In a tweet this week, Archbishop Andrew confirmed he would write to his Ugandan counterpart again, hoping “he will reply this time”.