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Aggravated homosexuality a crime punishable by prison: Uganda follows Georgia

Aggravated homosexuality bill signed by Ugandan President Museveni to protect African boys.
Wikimedia Commons

English judge, jurist and Tory politician Sir William Blackstone authored the book Commentaries on the Laws of England, which states that homosexuality is "a crime not fit to be named." And although Blackstone died in 1780, his influence against the ills of this particular sexual persuasion is still being felt around the world, with the most recent being the Uganda President Yoweri Museveni.

Museveni chose to sign an anti-gay bill into law on Monday, February 24, according to Yahoo News, which could lead to some homosexuals in Uganda facing life imprisonment for the crime of practicing homosexuality. But this isn't the first time someone wanted to put homosexuals in prison for having same-sex relations. And Uganda isn't the first country to do it; America beat them to it.

Georgia had an anti-sodomy law on its books until gay advocates in the American Civil Liberties Union used a 1982 Atlanta homosexual's arrest warrant as their cause celebra to champion gay rights in Bowers vs. Hardwick. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia dismissed the ACLU's lawsuit, however, ruling in favor of the Southern state's anti-sodomy law instead.

The ACLU appealed on Hardwick's behalf, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned the ruling, stating that the anti-sodomy law violated the constitutional rights of homosexuals like Hardwick. This, of course, prompted an appeal by the state of Georgia, leading to the U.S. Supreme Court issuing a writ of certiorari. In other words, they agreed to hear the case and decide the matter.

The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of Georgia back then, upholding Georgia's law of criminalizing sodomy and oral sex between consenting adults in private when they heard Bowers vs. Hardwick.

Over the past week, Uganda's leader has said that he believes there are those in the West who are now attempting to spread homosexual practices in Africa, and that he and his fellow countrymen are concerned about the potential for gay men to prey upon innocent young boys as a result. It's a staggering thought, that Western men would seek to prey upon a third-world country's youngest males rather than engage in the lifestyle they have fought to practice here without legal consequence. But the Ugandan president must have case examples of when that has happened.

We Africans never seek to impose our views on others. If only they ('arrogant and careless Western groups') could let us alone."

In the Georgia homosexuality case the state's leaders hoped to be left alone after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in their favor too. However, in 2003, the highest court in America overturned their own decision on the Georgia case when faced with another homosexual issue case from the state of Texas: the Lawrence vs. Texas case. And the Court determined by 2003, after the justice makeup on the bench had changed considerably, that anti-sodomy laws were now unconstitutional.

The Ugandan president doesn't feel anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional for Africa or Uganda, even though they don't operate using American laws. And even though President Obama is stating that he is concerned that Museveni's decision will adversely impact Africa's HIV/AIDS statistics, Yoweri Museveni has had a successful history of dealing with reducing HIV/AIDS in his part of the world for years. And that may be why he faces less opposition from his countrymen about reducing homosexuality practices in Uganda than he faces from the West about it.

A similar measure regarding homosexuality as a crime punishable by imprisonment was signed into law in Nigeria recently too. Both decisions were likely influenced by the medical report commissioned by Museveni earlier this year, which reports there is no proven genetic basis for homosexuality. Medical experts insist that it is a behavioral choice instead.

Atlanta Crime Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics.

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