Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill Back in Limbo
The members of Uganda’s parliament are on vacation now, and won’t be coming back to work until February. It might not be much, given the threat hanging over them, but during those two months, L.G.B.T. Ugandans can rest a little easier. As I write in my story in this week’s issue, from the moment last month when Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of parliament, announced that she would pass the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would imprison gays (and originally suggested the death penalty for certain homosexual behavior), as a “Christmas gift” to Ugandans, activists have been coördinating a global effort to kill the bill, and those whose sexuality would be criminalized have been watching their government closely, as the bill seemed to be the closest it has come to passage since it was first introduced, in 2009. But lawmakers left for vacation on Friday without holding a vote on it, so now the notorious “Kill the Gays” bill is back in limbo, along with the lives of those in Uganda’s L.G.B.T. community. For several tense weeks, the bill hovered near or at the top of parliament’s agenda. As contentious oil legislation stalled and the government faced aid cuts from several European nations over a corruption scandal, it appeared to be a friendly unifier for politicians—a guaranteed popularity booster.