Uganda’s parliament passed an anti-homosexuallity bill on Tuesday which harshly punishes same sex marriages and anyone who identifies as LGBTQ.
The punishments of the new sweeping bill go as far as subjecting HIV positive people engaging in repetitive same-sex intercourse to death and life imprisonment for same-sex relationships.
Once President Yoweri Museveni signs the bill, anyone that violates the bill, including gay, lesbian, transgender or nonbinary, will face up to 20 years in prison and will be criminalized for touching another person “with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.
Homosexuality is illegal in more than half of Africa’s continents, making Uganda one of the countries with the most extreme antigay law once the bill is signed.
The initial bill, introduced on March 9 by lawmakers, did not include death or life sentences as the proposed penalties.
The legislation also allows the death penalty for what lawmakers label “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes same-sex intercourse with minors or an HIV-positive person who is a repeat offender of participating in same-sex relations.
Prior to this law, there was a 2014 antigay legislation that not only prohibited same-sex relations, but it also penalized companies and non-governmental organizations that aided the LGBTQ community, including same-sex marriage.
“We want to shape the future of our children by protecting them from homosexuality,” said Mutasingwa Kagyenyi, a parliamentarian on Tuesday in a chamber full of lawmakers. “Sexual relations are between a man and woman. Those are our cherished values and culture, and we shall protect them jealously.”
Human Rights Watch alerted last week that LGBTQ members in Uganda may experience reduced health care access, such as HIV prevention.
This harsh law drastically impacted at least 1.4 million people in Uganda which has one of the largest HIV/AIDS epidemics.
Many of Uganda’s LGBTQ also faced eviction and termination from their jobs on the assumption of their sexual orientation.
Uganda’s new antigay law has sparked global backlash, leaving the LGBTQ community in shock and the U.S. concerned. The U.S. has threatened to discontinue supplying resources to Uganda over the antigay bill, unless a less drastic measure is taken.
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