By Joseph Kiyimba and Lynn Felicia
Recently, the Parliament of Uganda passed a Bill, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2023)which proposes tough penalties for same-sex relationships, practices, and criminalizes anyone identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ).
With the vice sporadically spreading across the globe, especially as Western countries are pushing and attaching it as a condition for good relationship with developing countries, supporters of the legislation say it is much needed to punish a broader array of LGBTQ activities which threaten traditional values in the conservative, religious East African nation.
Legally, homosexuality is already a crime in Uganda, and is punishable upon conviction. The practice is described as an “Unnatural offense” under Section 145 of Chapter 14 of the 1950 Penal Code Act.
“Any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life.”
Pr Martin Ssempa, an activist and founder of the Makerere Community Church, said the Bill is necessary because there is a void in the existing Laws as regards regulating the vice of homosexuality in particular.
“Homosexuality is an infection of life and the family including marriage and sex life. Clause 10(1)(a) of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill penalizes procurement of homosexuality by threats. The penalty should match that of committing robbery using a deadly weapon,” Ssempa who also heads the Uganda Taskforce Against Sodomy and Homosexuality, says.
In addition to same-sex intercourse, the proposed Law also bans promoting, assisting homosexuality and conspiracy to engage in the act.
John Musira, the Member of Parliament for Bubulo East constituency, says the Bill will safeguard the young generation of Uganda which is mainly targeted by LGBTQ:
“If anyone conducts a same-sex marriage ceremony, they could be imprisoned for up to 10 years. If anyone were to rent a room to a gay couple, they could go to jail for 10 years” the jubilant legislator says.
Musira notes that the Bill outlaws the promotion of homosexuality effectively, instituting a system of complete censorship on LGBTQ.
Anyone advocating for LGBTQ people, or providing financial support to organizations that do so, could face up to 20 years imprisonment.
Pr Solomon Male says the Bill confirms an already existing punishment of life imprisonment for same-sex conduct, while also increasing to 10 years the prison sentence for an attempt at same-sex conduct in the Penal Code.
“Clause 129 of the Penal Code Act that penalizes acts of homosexuality was used by Justice Jane Francis Abodo, now the DPP, to sentence Paul Nabamba who sodomized a five year-old boy in Watuwa.
“When Justice Abodo heard the testimony, she sentenced Nabamba to 30 years in prison,” pr Male said.
However, MP John Musira contends that “Violations under the proposed Law involve steep penalties, including death for “aggravated” homosexuality, and life imprisonment for participation in gay sex.
“Aggravated homosexuality involves gay sex with people under 18 years old or when a person is HIV positive, among other categories, according to the new Law”.
While addressing a congregation in Mukono in March, the Anglican Archbishop, Dr Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu said “The future of the Church of Uganda is vested in young people, yet many evil-minded people and organizations are targeting them to lure them into gay activities”.
“We are aware that there are bad groups recruiting our students, youth into gay, lesbianism and transgenderism. So, I warn you not to accept to be lured. Don’t accept because the repercussions are dire,” Kazimba cautioned.
“The Church of Uganda will not tolerate homosexuality. As Church, we shall continue to emphasize heterosexual marriages as the lifelong, exclusive bond between one man and one woman for procreation as reflected in the Bible,” Kaziimba added.
However, several human rights advocates, both at individual and group levels, have asked President Museveni not to assent to the Bill, arguing that it violates freedom.
“If the law comes into force, it will violate the rights to freedom of expression and association, liberty, privacy, equality, freedom from discrimination, inhuman and degrading treatment, and a fair hearing; all guaranteed under Ugandan and international law, for all Ugandans,” Frank Mugisha, the executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda said.
As of this publication, President Yoweri Museveni had, upon consultative meetings with some MPs, returned the Bill to parliament for reconsideration, especially of sections that seek to punish everyone who identifies as homosexual, saying it would jeopardise seeking assistance and rehabilitation by persons recruited without consent into the practice.
“It is clear that our society does not accept homosexual conduct or acts, so the proposed law must be clear so that what is criminalized is not the state of a person with a deviant propensity, but rather the acts of a person acting on or promoting that basis,” Museveni’s letter, read to legislators by the deputy speaker of parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, during a recent plenary, states in part.
In a plenary sitting held on May 2, 2023, Parliament reconsidered the president’s suggestions and removed penalties for those who only identify as homosexuals, but kept the other proposed penalties. The Bill is now back to the president for signing.
The Bible takes a clear, critical stand against homosexuality as a sinful practice in a number of passages.
According to Romans 6:23, the wages of sin is death. In Genesis 19, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin including homosexuality.
Leviticus 18:22 further describes homosexuality as an “Abomination to lie with a male as with a woman.”
Romans 1 calls the practice a “dishonorable passion”. Verses 26-27 say: “For their women exchanged natural relations for those contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another…” Other passages against homosexuality include 1Corinthians 6:9, and 1Timothy.
It is important to note, however, that, like with every other sin, there is a difference between the temptation and the behavior.
The Bible, though is against sin, does not regard temptation as sin.
Therefore, like a person that struggles with the temptation to steal, but does not steal, anyone that only struggles with same sex attraction, but never acts on it is not a sinner.
The gay-affirming community has done all possible to be accepted around the world.
This has meant coming up with different ways to catch unsuspecting people unawares, including through statements that seem true, yet far from it.
The most common is the assertion that homosexuality is not a choice.
If this was true, God would have given us options when it comes to marriages, but He instead made it clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. Besides, He would not have destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah.
If homosexuality was not a choice, we would also justify theft, rape and other sins.
To further push the agenda, it is claimed that homosexuality cannot be cured, yet this is far from the truth.
There are countless testimonies from former homosexuals that have left the movement.
Many of these became Christians. They probably, still struggle with temptation and lust, but no longer practices the vice.
Another common assertion is that: “Gay people are children of God”.
Whereas we are all created in the image of God, there are specifics about being a child of God. The first chapter of the Gospel of John gives us the most important of them-receiving and believing in Jesus.
“I am gay and I believe in Jesus,” some say. Just not the Jesus of the Bible.
The Jesus of the Bible commands us to repent of our sins, carry our crosses and follow Him. We cannot be doing the very things that took Jesus to die on the Cross.
“Oh! But the word homosexual does not appear in the Bible, Jesus Himself never condemned the act,” some say.
Christianity has trinity as its core belief. So, even if Jesus never uttered a Word about homosexuality, He is the God that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and the same that constituted marriage between a man and a woman.
The word “homosexual” in the Bible is a Greek word ‘arsenokoites’ which means sodomite or a male engaging in same-gender sexual activity.
How it is promoted:
According to America’s Guide Magazine, gay activists reveal that they were determined to use manipulation, deception and coercion to advance their agenda across the globe.
Some of these tactics include redefining homosexuality as an inborn condition, shifting the debate from the arena of morality, ethics and psychology, to politics, human rights and social injustice.
Their target is to promote the vice through school/education systems and structures, promoting education about homosexuality as a normal alternative lifestyle, and normalizing it through entertainment and the media.
For Uganda’s case, vulnerable children are being lured using money and promises of fancy life to join homosexuality.
They are also using other tactics such as widespread homosexual pornography, threatening or lobbying for cutting off aid if leaders obstruct them, organizing demonstrations and parades, waging legal battles for recognition, making personal threats to or compromising leaders using money, and occupying strategic leadership positions, both political and in the Church, to advance their interests, among others.
Is it natural?
Homosexuality is not a natural orientation. None of us is created or born a homosexual. It is a habit externally, and as fallen sinners, intrinsically influenced (Romans 3:10).
Human beings are naturally heterosexual beings. This is proven by our physicality and genitals.
The hormonal imbalances that attest to homosexual orientation in some patients are due to our sinful nurture.
While heterosexual nurturing has its justification in both human physiology and purpose for sex (procreation), homosexuality has its justification in faulty psychologies and nowhere in the normal human nature.
The peculiar nature of homosexual desire has led some people to conclude that this urge must be innate: that a certain number of people are “born that way” and those sexual preferences cannot be changed or even ended.
However, justifying homosexuality is paving way for other sinners like serial killers, thieves and terrorists, among other dangerous groups, to also claim their right because their practice is a natural characteristic they were born with, thus should be accepted in society.
Whether homosexuality is biological, psychological (mental illness) or sociological (a choice made in a sexually permissive society), the bottom line is: it is unnatural and abnormal.