(ReliableNews.org) – Though acceptance for members of the LGBTQ+ community has spread across the world, it’s still criminalized in several African countries. Many of the laws call for long prison terms and worse for gay men. One country just passed legislation that would put “serial offenders” to death.
On May 29, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed one of the harshest anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the world into law. The legislation calls for the death penalty for people who are guilty of “aggravated homosexuality.” That is defined as gay men having sexual intercourse with someone who has a disability or transmitting HIV/AIDS or another terminal illness through the act. Additionally, someone convicted of “promoting” homosexuality can receive a sentence of 20 years in prison.
The Ugandan law also prohibits any sexual relations between people of the same sex and sets a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for anyone caught trying to engage in them. It bans same-sex marriage. The law prohibits the media or other non-governmental agencies from “knowingly” promoting homosexuality, and if they are caught doing it, they face a fine or potential suspension.
Minors convicted of engaging in a same-sex relationship can spend up to three years in prison. And anyone convicted of making a false claim of homosexuality against someone can go to jail for one year.
The law faced bipartisan criticism in the United States. President Joe Biden called it a “tragic violation” of Ugandans’ human rights. He said the government is considering what to do next, including levying sanctions against the African nation.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a statement on Twitter, calling the law “horrific [and] wrong.” He said all nations should condemn the legislation.
Frank Mugisha, a gay-rights activist in Uganda, expressed concerns that people in his country will now be emboldened to “take the law into their hands.” He went on to say that the new legislation has “put so many people at risk.”
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