The bill has been discussed in Uganda’s Parliament since 2009. Passage was promised by Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga in recent weeks after an Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Canada. At the meeting, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told Kadaga that Uganda was “trampling on human rights,” according to a story in the Daily Monitor.
“I will not accept to be intimidated or directed by any government in the world on matters of homosexuality,” Kadaga answered. After her comments, she was thanked by many people at the conference.
“I was surprised when colleagues came and thanked me saying that’s what they have always wanted to say but they had never gotten the courage to. That when it came to me that I had spoken for the whole of Africa, for the Arab world and Asians,” she told the Daily Monitor.
The Uganda bill is divided into two categories: “aggravated homosexuality” or the “offense of homosexuality.”
“Aggravated homosexuality” is punishable by death and includes a parent or authority figure who has same-sex relations, someone who is HIV-positive, or those who commit homosexual acts with minors.
The “offense of homosexuality” is punishable with a life sentence and includes those in a same-sex marriage and Ugandans who have same-sex relationships outside Uganda.
Homosexual relationships are currently illegal in Uganda and much of Africa and those caught can now be imprisoned for 14 years.
A private member’s bill was introduced in 2009 by David Bahati on Oct. 14, 2009, after he met with American Christians who said gay people are a direct threat to African families.
Watch Uganda’s leadership and religious leaders including Kadaga cheer the promise of the passage of the anti-gay bill:
Rachel Maddow of MSNBC has also tracked the American influence on the bill. Watch a video report of the bill and its American connections below: