THE President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, signed the country's
Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law on Monday, despite opposition from
international governments, human-rights groups, and church leaders
President Museveni had previously indicated that he would not
sign the Bill, saying that it was "wrong to punish somebody on
account of being born abnormal".
But he says that he changed his mind after receiving the
"unanimous conclusion" of the country's Department of Genetics, the
School of Medicine, and the Ministry of Health that "homosexuality,
contrary to my earlier thinking, was behavioural and not genetic.
Itwas learnt and could be unlearnt."
Last week, the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, advised the
President against signing. He "simply couldn't understand", he
said, why a new law was needed. The existing law, imposed during
British rule, had never been repealed.
"My stance is very clear: any legislation which is
anti-something always worries me. We should be for things, not
against something," he said at a gathering of Jewish and Christian
students at Durham University.
"As far as I am concerned, I cannot understand why clergy can
support a law that could lead to life imprisonment if I know that
X, Y, Z are homosexual, and has got a partner, and I don't tell the
government, I, too, face a court case. I'm sorry, this just does
not go with my understanding of what I think religion is all
He could still "retain what I see as the teaching of the Church
in the matter of sexual relations"; but "I don't want people locked
up because they happen to be homosexual."
The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Stanley Ntagali, last
month welcomed moves to remove the requirement to report known
homosexuals to the state. "This frees our clergy and church leaders
to...offer counselling, healing, and prayer for people with
homosexual disorientation. The Church is a safe place for
individuals who are confused about their sexuality, or struggling
with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing."
The law was condemned by the Most Revd Dr Desmond Tutu,
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, who said: "There is no scientific
basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only the grace of
God. There is no scientific justification for prejudice and
discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral
The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said that he was "deeply
saddened and disappointed" by the new law. "There can be no doubt
that this Bill will increase persecution and discrimination of
Ugandans, as well as damage Uganda's reputation internationally,"