This Country Now Has One of the Toughest Anti-LGBTQ Laws

Despite outcry over bill passed nearly unanimously in March, Uganda's president signs it into law
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2023 9:46 AM CDT
Uganda's New LGBTQ Law Includes the Death Penalty
A gay Ugandan man holds a pride flag as he poses for a photograph in Uganda on March 25.   (AP Photo)

Uganda just became a decidedly hostile place for the LGBTQ+ community: As Reuters reports, President Yoweri Museveni just signed into law one of the globe's harshest anti-gay measures, and it includes the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," serial offenders of the law, and those who transmit diseases such as AIDS via gay sex. Anyone promoting homosexuality can face 20 years behind bars. Ugandan lawmakers passed the bill, which the Washington Post notes is called the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, nearly unanimously in late March, to outcry from gay advocates and international human rights organizations. "It's a very dark and sad day for the LGBTIQ community, our allies, and all of Uganda," says Clare Byarugaba, a Ugandan activist.

The law will sentence anyone to life in prison found to have performed a sexual act with a person of the same gender, and up to seven years for the "attempt" to do so. It was initially vetoed by Museveni but passed largely in its initial form, notes the Post. "With a lot of humility, I thank my colleagues the Members of Parliament for withstanding all the pressure from bullies and doomsday conspiracy theorists in the interest of our country," says Parliament Speaker Anita Among, per Politico. Reuters notes that the US yanked her visa following the passage of the bill. Some people have long ago fled: "I will never see home again," a 32-year-old who left in 2018 and is now in Kenya anonymously tells the Post. "I am in the refugee camp at the moment and never felt so disillusioned in my life." (More Uganda stories.)

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