The Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill, also known as the “kill the gays” bill, never went away. We were just supposed to think it did. A debate of the bill is set to begin before Uganda’s parliament in the next few months, writes Warren Throckmorton, who last week interviewed the author of the bill, David Bahati:
I asked Mr. Bahati if he thought the court was correct in their ruling to stop the campaign or if the paper should be allowed to continue.
Well I think if we really had passed this bill, it [the Rolling Stone campaign] would have been very helpful to law enforcement of these people; , it would have been a great source for law enforcement.
I may not agree with every word they wrote, but I think if the group of young people who are concerned about what is happening in their country, that they are concerned by the damage being done by homosexuality in this country. It has been a very underground movement and we have come now and say no, this must have a stop.
Bahati assured Throckmorton that the bill would be debated no later than May 20 and as early as prior to session break, which begins on November 25th.
Jeff Sharlet, journalist and founder of The Revealer, broke the story of the bill late last year while researching his most recent book, C Street, about the secretive organization known as The Family or The Fellowship. Sharlet learned that Bahati was a member of The Family and traveled to Uganda to investigate the organization’s influence. Under public scrutiny, including interviews by Sharlet on NPR’s Fresh Air and The Rachel Maddow Show and pressure from U.S. LGBT rights organizations to stop the bill, The Family, via member Bob Hunter, denied support for it. As did others, including Rick Warren, who has ties to Martin Ssempe, another supporter of the bill, and Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, a Family member. (For Bob Hunter’s rebuttal of Jeff’s research, and Jeff’s response, read their published exchange at Harper’s, here.)
In September, The New Yorker magazine published a false and misleading article that swept the Ugandan bill under The Family’s rug and even suggested that it was dead. (Read critiques of Peter J. Boyer’s erroneous and irresponsible article here, here, and here.)
Jeff’s article in the September issue of Harper’s Magazine, “Straight man’s burden: The American Roots of Uganda’s anti-gay persecutions,” is damning. One can only wonder what The Family’s members are telling Bahati and how it differs from their own polished statements to media here in the U.S.
In October, Uganda’s proposed bill was again in the news when reports that the Ugandan newspaper, Rolling Stone (not affiliated with Rolling Stone magazine), featured 100 photos of “Uganda’s top homos.” The publication sent gay Ugandans and rights activists into hiding, a small taste of the horrors that await Ugandan homosexuals, their friends and families should the bill pass. A judge ordered the paper to stop printing photos on the first of November.
That the bill never went away and is soon to be debated in Uganda’s parliament was also confirmed by Andrew Gems today at Episcopal Cafe.