Religious Leaders in Uganda Demand Return of Anti-Homosexuality Law

Claim It's Needed to Protect African Nation's Well-being, Values, Children

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) Staff Reporter | 647 hits

Uganda's religious leaders have called for the reinstatement of a law banning homosexual practice in the country.

The religious leaders of the African nation petitioned Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga Monday to re-table and pass an anti-homosexuality law recently overturned by the Supreme Court, reported Anadolu Agency yesterday.

Supporters of the law's return told the speaker they were aggrieved over the court ruling.

Pastor George Oduch said the law is needed not only to help curb the funding and promotion of homosexuality, but also to "protect our people, especially the children, from being recruited into this dehumanizing lifestyle."

Kadaga told campaigners for the law to be reinstated that they had already gathered 207 signatures from members of parliament to put it back for vote.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act calls for life imprisonment for anyone convicted of engaging in homosexuality, among other tough penalties.

On December 20th, parliament passed the law which was later signed by President Yoweri Museveni, but on August 1st Uganda's Supreme Court overturned the act on grounds that parliament had fallen short of the necessary quorum during the voting session.

The legislation drew criticism from Western donor nations including U.S. President Barack Obama. But the African nation's religious leaders insist no amount of economic aid could be compared to the values and well-being of Ugandans.

Pastor Oduch said “the time is ripe for Uganda to look for genuine developmental partners who will value our people and respect our culture," and called upon “every member of parliament (MP) to be present when the law is re-tabled to avoid future controversy.”

A Muslim religious leader, Sheikh Edrissa Mbabali, also called on the parliament speaker to re-table it, in order to protect children. He explained the trend at the nation's schools of homosexuals recruiting children and improving their wellbeing, which entices other children to engage in the practice at boarding schools.

John Baptist Kauta, secretary-general of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, told Catholic News Service: “Our reaction from the Church is very clear, we don’t support homosexuality.”

However, the conference of Catholic bishops did not support the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” Kauta said, “The bishops were not in favor of that,” and added, “We were for compassion, and we believe (homosexuals) can change.”