Despite earlier reports, the Ugandan Parliament has postponed voting on the proposed anti-gay bill until Friday, May 13. Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), has been on hand at Parliament and confirms that the bill is still being considered. According to a Parliament spokesperson, the 8th Parliament remains constitutionally in effect until May 18, but this Friday is the last day the current Parliament can act because swearing-in ceremonies for the 9th Parliament will begin the following Monday. U.S. representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) issued the following statement today in response to the news that the bill may soon become law:
“I’m disturbed by the news that Uganda is considering going ahead with a measure that denies the humanity of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.” “I was pleased when the Financial Services Committee overwhelmingly, in a bipartisan way, voted in favor of my amendment urging the Secretary of the Treasury to oppose any financial assistance from multilateral development institutions to countries that persecute people on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or religious beliefs. In the discussion of the amendment I offered, I specifically mentioned the deeply troubling case of Uganda, which is now considering legislation to legally deprive people of these basic human rights.” “If the bill before the Ugandan parliament becomes law, it must be the policy of the United States government to oppose any aid to Uganda from the World Bank, the African Development Bank, or any other international financial institution of which we are a member.”Online petitions from the groups Avaaz and All Out have gathered more than 1.4 million signatures asking Parliament to reject the bill or for Uganda's president to veto it if it passes. And it's not too late to sign. "We've helped stop this bill before, and we can do it again," Avaaz's website says.