Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, has told the AP that an anti-gay bill will be passed before the end of 2012.

She insisted the bill is what most Ugandans want.

While being gay is already a crime in Uganda punishable by up to life in prison, the proposed legislation would increase the penalties, originally mandating death for some gay acts. The bill would criminalize discussions of homosexuality and penalize a person who knowingly rents to a gay or lesbian person.

Kadaga met with proponents of the bill in Kampala on Friday. The Christian clerics and their followers said homosexuals pose a “serious threat” to Uganda's children. Some even asked the speaker to pass the law as “a Christmas gift.”

“Speaker, we cannot sit back while such [a] destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation,” the anti-gay activists said in a petition. “We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament … so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation.”

“We are energized by your support,” Kadaga told the activists. “I appeal to Members of Parliament to listen to the instructions of your people; they are asking for protection against homosexuality. Let them not continue begging. It is now our responsibility [to act].”

At the meeting, parents and schoolchildren held placards denouncing homosexuality.

During a 2010 interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, MP David Bahati, the bill's chief sponsor, said the measure 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 lawmaker could not back up his claims.

President Barack Obama is among the world leaders who have condemned the bill, describing it as “odious.” Britain has threatened to cut aid to Uganda over the controversial measure.