Ugandan New Anti-gay Law

from News Talk 650 CKOM - Saskatoon Radio Station

Saskatoon LGBT activist weighs in on Ugandan law -Law makes homosexual acts punishable by at least 14 years in prison

Reported by Kurtis Doering
Tom Rogers with Integrity Saskatoon is optimistic when it comes to Uganda's new anti-gay law.
"It's a step backwards in Uganda for sure, as it was in Russia" he said. "But each step backwards, I think, is often met by a few steps forward."
Integrity Saskatoon is based in the Anglican Church, and offers advocacy and support to the LGBT community.
On Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill which imposes harsh penalties for homosexual acts.
Those acts now carry a first-time sentence of 14 years in prison. A charge of "aggravated homosexuality", meaning homosexual acts with a minor, a disabled person or someone infected with H.I.V., are punishable by a life sentence.
Such a law is not seen as extreme in most of Africa. According to Amnesty International, homosexuality is illegal in 38 of 54 African countries. Being gay is punishable by death in four of them.
Even this new Ugandan law is less extreme than one that was proposed there in 2009, in which some offenses carried the death penalty.
"Many of those countries have severe problems of poverty and sectorial violence" Rogers said, "why they would focus on an issue that is of no harm to them I don't know.
"I hope that our governments, since this is a government law, will also be stating very clearly to the Ugandan government that this is not a way to develop your country" he added.
The United States has already done just that. US Press Sercretary Jay Carney called the new law "abhorrent" and said that their government would be reviewing their relationship with Uganda.
Rogers remains hopeful that the change in attitude towards homosexuality Canada saw will eventually happen worldwide.
"On every occasion, I think, the truth comes out" he said. "Gay people are normal people who create a great contribution to society."
He said that harsh laws like the ones in Uganda and Russia can even serve to create useful dialogue about human rights.
"Little by little, chink by chink, the reality and the justice is improving. So I can invision the world improving" he said.
-With files from the Canadian Press

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