Legislation, homophobia endanger Ugandan UUs
Kampala minister urges vigilance as threats and bigotry increase.
By Michelle Bates Deakin, 5.16.11
With the Ugandan Parliament once again considering an “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” (AHB), which could result in the death penalty for some gays and lesbians and criminalize the “promotion of homosexuality,” the Unitarian minister from Kampala is urging Americans to pay attention and speak out.
The Unitarian Universalist Association, along with the U.S. State Department and international human rights groups, has denounced the bill. UUA President Peter Morales called the AHB an “unconscionable attempt to legitimize hatred and bigotry.”
The Unitarian Universalist minister of the Kampala church left the country in late March concerned for his safety. He asked that his name not be published for his protection and for the well-being of students at the church-run school and residents of the church-run orphanage for children left parentless due to HIV/AIDS. He is visiting the United States on a six-month visa, touring UU churches and speaking about the oppression his countrymen face.
“We need more vigilance by the people in the States to get involved in the issues of the Global South,” he said. “We want UUs to get more involved in knowing the oppression people are facing so they can add a voice.”
Before leaving Uganda, the minister had been questioned twice by police who accused him of using the church and the school to recruit homosexuals.
Uganda has become an increasingly dangerous place for LGBT people and their allies. In January, LGBT-rights activist David Kato was attacked in his home and beaten to death with a hammer. Before his death, he had announced that the lives of gays and lesbians in Uganda were in danger.