Conflicting media reports from the BBC, the AP and others continue to come out about Uganda's so-called "kill the gays" bill, which we expect to move through Uganda's parliament any day now. Those reports falsely claim that the bill no longer includes the death penalty. Andre Banks, Executive Director of All Out issued the following statement to help clear up some the misinformation reported by major media outlets:
David Bahati is one of the architects of Uganda's anti-gay bill. Bahati told the AP the death penalty was removed from the bill, yet no one has actually seen the latest version of the bill to confirm Bahati's claim. Until we see the bill, and it has moved out of a committee that actually has the power to make substantive changes, we must assume the worst.
If the latest version of the "Kill the Gays" bill does emerge without the death penalty, we must remain committed to its defeat. For gay prisoners who are often tortured and humiliated, a life sentence is nothing to celebrate. Ugandans and the world will not rest until this bill in any form is killed once and for all.
Box Turtle Bulletin's Jim Burroway also pointed out:
Despite these latest reports you've read -- or the fifteen or more before them -- the death penalty has not been removed. That can only happen when the full Parliament decides to vote on the Legal and Parliamentary Committee's recommendation to remove the death penalty from Clause 3. And that will only stand the greatest chance of happening if the Legal and Parliamentary Committee actually recommends making that change -- which its members claims was done but can't show you the committee's draft report because its a "secret." Which should be a red flag the size of North Korea's because the last time the Legal and Parliamentary Committee claimed it recommended removing the death penalty, it actually did no such thing.
Furthermore, the U.S. embassy told the Washington Blade:
[T]he committee can only compile a report on the bill for recommendations to the bill, and can't make changes to it. That means the panel can't take out the death penalty provision for "aggravated homosexuality," which media sources reported was removed.
It is incredibly important that news outlets and advocates fighting for the human rights of gays and lesbians see the bill before reporting or believing that the bill no longer includes the death penalty. Until we see the bill, we must assume the worst.
Please join All Out's campaign calling for the death of Uganda's anti-gay bill: allout.org/uganda.