Uganda MP David Bahati has reintroduced
a bill which would increase the penalties for homosexuality, but a
death clause has been dropped.
“There will be no death penalty at
all,” Bahati told the AFP, “that will go.”
Bahati reintroduced his proposal on
Tuesday. Parliament officials, however, said the version introduced
was identical to last year's version, which proposed putting repeat
offenders to death under certain circumstances. The bill also would
criminalize discussions of homosexuality and penalize a person who
knowingly rents to a gay or lesbian person.
Bahati, who first introduced the bill
in 2009, insisted the measure's language was being modified.
“The death penalty is not part of the
process that we are talking about,” Bahati said.
He added that this year's version also
scrapped proposals to jail family members who knowingly failed to
report gay relatives to officials and to jail people who make claims
that they were married to a member of the same sex.
During a 2010 interview with MSNBC's
Rachel Maddow, Bahati said his bill was needed because more
than $15 million had poured into the country in less than a year to
recruit children into being gay. However, the lawmakers could
not back up his claims.
On Wednesday, the Uganda government
distanced itself from the proposed legislation.
“It does not form part of the
government's legislative programme and it does not enjoy the support
of the prime minister or the cabinet,” the government said in a
Barack Obama has previously called the proposal “odious.”