Members of the European Parliament have
approved a resolution condemning a proposed anti-gay bill before the
Uganda Parliament that includes a death penalty provision for
MP David Bahati's bill would outlaw gay
sex and includes a death provision for repeat offenders and people
who are HIV-positive, increasing the penalties for having gay sex in
a country where it's already banned. The bill also makes the
“promotion of homosexuality” illegal, which would effectively ban
political organizations, broadcasters and publishers that advocate on
behalf of gay rights, and turn friends and family members of gay men
and lesbians into criminals if they fail to report a violation.
The resolution approved on Thursday
urges Uganda lawmakers “not to approve the bill and to review their
laws so as to decriminalize homosexuality.”
“This bill's provisions are
draconian,” British representative Michael Cashman, author of the
resolution, said on the floor of the European Parliament.
“It is vital that this afternoon in
this house we put aside our prejudices and we defend those who have
no one left to defend them,” Cashman said. “I warmly welcome the
statement by the commissioner on development, European Commissioner
De Gucht, statements from the British, French and Swedish
governments, as well as President Obama, and the chair and the
vice-chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign
“I urge the house to give this the
high importance that it deserves and to speak out for those in Uganda
who currently are not being heard,” he added.
Cashman heads the European Parliament's
Intergroup on LGBT Rights, one of 24 officially recognized caucuses
in the EP.
The proposed legislation will receive
its first hearing within the next weeks and is widely expected to be
approved before the end of February.