Ugandan Fundamentalist Preacher Backs off Death Penalty for Gays, but Thinks Prison Time is Fine
A Ugandan parliament committee on Monday held a second day of hearings on a controversial anti-gay bill that attracted international condemnation for its harsh penalties. Lawmakers indicated the bill could be voted on this week.
The bill was first proposed in 2009 but made little progress after a storm of criticism over a death penalty provision in the original bill. A committee meeting last Friday was its first public airing since its proposal 18 months ago.
The bill’s author, David Bahati, told The Associated Press last month that the death penalty provision in the bill was “something we have moved away from.” The bill is now undergoing debate and negotiations, so a new version would likely be presented before a final vote is held.
One of the bill’s backers, an anti-gay pastor named Martin Ssempa, told the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on Monday that he does not support the death penalty provision. He said instead that gays should face up to seven years in prison.
“The parliament should be given the opportunity to discuss and pass the bill, because homosexuality is killing our society,” Ssempa told the committee.