Uganda’s parliament on Tuesday passed a new draft of anti-gay legislation, retaining many draconian provisions despite President Yoweri Museveni’s call to rework an earlier version of the bill following an outcry by Western governments.
“The bill passed,” parliamentary speaker Annet Anita Among said after the final vote saw the legislation win approval from all but one lawmaker.
“We have a culture to protect. The Western world will not come to rule Uganda,” she said.
Legislators amended portions of the draft law to clarify that identifying as gay would not be criminalised, but “engaging in acts of homosexuality” would be an offence punishable with life imprisonment.
Although Museveni had advised lawmakers to delete a provision making “aggravated homosexuality” a capital offence, lawmakers rejected that move, meaning that repeat offenders could be sentenced to death.
Uganda has not resorted to capital punishment for many years.
The revamped bill says that “a person who is believed or alleged or suspected of being a homosexual, who has not committed a sexual act with another person of the same sex, does not commit the offence of homosexuality.”
The earlier version also required Ugandans to report suspected homosexual activity to the police or face six months imprisonment.
Lawmakers agreed to amend that provision on Tuesday after Museveni last month said it risked creating “conflicts in society.”
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