Ugandan President Refuses to Sign Anti-Gay Bill, Wants it to be Stronger

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Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has rejected the highly controversial anti-homosexuality bill that imposes the death penalty for homosexuality. Instead, he wants the bill to be even stronger, requesting that it be returned to parliament.

Chief whip Denis Hamson Obua said the President had agreed to sign the bill into law, but it will be returned to strengthen some provisions.

The President also wants to introduce rehabilitation to “persons who have in the past been engaged in homosexuality.” The bill has come under heavy scrutiny by human rights experts. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk called the draconian legislation “deeply troubling.”

He said, “If signed into law by the President, it will render lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Uganda criminals simply for existing, for being who they are.”

“Before that is done, we also agree that the bill will be returned in order to facilitate the reinforcement and the strengthening of some provisions in line with our best practices,” said Chief Whip Denis Hamson Obua.

“The President told the members that he had no objections to the punishments but on the issue of rehabilitation of the persons who have in the past been engaged in homosexuality but would like to live normal lives again,” said Presidential Spokesman Sandor Walusimbi.

Last month, only two of the 389 legislators voted against the proposed legislation, which would punish homosexuals with death if they are caught in a sexual act.

The bill also criminalizes those who “recruit, promote and fund” same-sex “activities”, which lawmakers say clash with the views and beliefs of the religious East African nation.