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Even with presidential veto, Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill remains a threat

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni vetoed the country's proposed anti-homosexuality law on January 17. But Mr. Museveni's announcement "was accompanied by such bizarre reasoning, along with further vows of repression of gays, that it was unlikely to reverse the disturbing trend that has stretched from Russia and India to Nigeria and Cameroon in recent months," the Globe and Mail reported.

The anti-gay legislation, also known as the "Kill the Gays bill," passed in Uganda's parliament on December 20. Religious leaders in Uganda asked the parliament to pass the bill as a Christmas present, and their wish was granted despite an international storm of protest.

The version of the bill passed by the parliament is "softer" than the original version, replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment for some forms of homosexual activity. It imposes prison sentences of 3 to 7 years for promoting homosexuality, which includes anyone defending it as normal or seeking to educate people toward a more compassionate understanding of LGBT rights.

President Museveni's veto can be overturned by a two-thirds majority vote in parliament.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Uganda and Rev. Mark Kiyimba will hold this year's Standing on the Side of Love conference to support LGBT rights in Uganda on May 17, the same the same day as the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). This year's theme will be the security of transgender persons in Uganda.

Unitarian Universalist David Weiss has started a fundraiser to support the conference. Click here for more information and to make a contribution.

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