On 14 October 2009 the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced to parliament in Uganda, sparking international outrage and condemnation. The bill sought to further criminalize homosexuality in the country, imposing life imprisonment for those found guilty of engaging in homosexual acts, as well as imposing harsh penalties for those who failed to report known homosexuals to the authorities.
The bill, which was initially proposed by MP David Bahati, was widely criticized for its violation of human rights, and for the damage it could cause to the LGBTIQ community in Uganda. Many saw it as a direct attack on the fundamental rights of LGBTIQ individuals, who already face significant discrimination and persecution in the country.
The existing law, Section 140 of the Ugandan penal code, penalized “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” with imprisonment of up to 14 years. The draft bill tabled in 2009 included provisions that would either incur the death penalty or imprisonment for life for anyone convicted of “the offense of homosexuality”.
The introduction of the bill was met with protests both within Uganda and across the world. Activists and human rights organizations condemned the bill, calling for its immediate withdrawal and highlighting the danger it posed to LGBTIQ people in the country. The bill was also criticized by foreign governments, including the United States, who threatened to withdraw aid to Uganda if it passed.
Despite this international pressure, the bill continued to gain support in Uganda, with many Ugandans supporting the bill as a way to protect the country’s moral values and culture. Some politicians and religious leaders in Uganda saw homosexuality as a threat to traditional family values, and believed that the bill was necessary to combat what they saw as a growing Western influence.