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The Sun has caused havoc after publishing a poll yesterday asking whether gay people should be allowed to be cabinet ministers.
The Government will not push through proposals that churches argue would restrict their ability to deny jobs to gay people and transsexuals, Equality Minister Harriet Harman has confirmed.
118 British MPs have condemned Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill. They have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM 575) in the UK Parliament, urging the scrapping of the Bill.
See the EDM here:
The EDM, drafted by east London Labour MP Harry Cohen and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, urges the Ugandan government to "uphold international humanitarian law by abandoning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalising same-sex acts between consenting adults in private, and outlawing discrimination against gay people."
British MPs are especially appalled that the Bill proposes the death penalty for "serial offenders" (people who commit repeat homosexual acts) and life imprisonment for merely touching or kissing another person of the same-sex with homosexual intent.
"We hope this motion will send a signal from the British parliament to the Ugandan government that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill constitutes an outrageous attack on the human rights of Uganda's lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens," said Peter Tatchell of the London-based gay human rights group OutRage!
OutRage! is helping coordinate the UK campaign against the Bill, with the support of Ugandans living in Britain.
See photos of last December's protest in London against the Bill:
These photos are free to use. Please credit Brett Lock
"Even if the death penalty is dropped, the Bill will remain unacceptable. It will still violate the equality guarantees of international human rights agreements, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," added Mr Tatchell.
"We support the many Ugandan people who oppose this homophobic witch-hunt. Not all Ugandans are homophobic. Many have spoken out against this legislation. We salute their compassion and courage.
"The scapegoating of gay Ugandans is reminiscent of the way Adolf Hitler scapegoated Jewish people in Germany in the 1930s.
"Demonising lesbians and gay men is a diversion from the real issues that blight the lives of most Ugandans: poverty, unemployment, low wages, disease, poor sanitation, dirty drinking water and inadequate health and education services.
"Uganda's anti-gay laws were not devised by Ugandans. They were devised in London in the nineteenth century and imposed on the people of Uganda by the British colonisers and their army of occupation. Before the British came and conquered Uganda, there were no laws against homosexuality. These laws are a foreign imposition. They are not African laws.
"This Bill violates Article 21 of the constitution of Uganda, which guarantees equality and non-discrimination:
21. Equality and freedom from discrimination.
(1) All persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.
"It also breaches the equality and anti-discrimination clauses 2, 3, and 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, which Uganda has signed and pledged to uphold," added Mr Tatchell.
Confirmation of Uganda's signature, ratification and accession of the African Charter:
An important briefing on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
See this comprehensive summary of the key points of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill:
The EDM reads:
ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL IN UGANDA
Sponsor: Harry Cohen MP
That this House calls on the British Government and the European Union to press the government of Uganda not to proceed with its Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which violates the equality and non-discrimination provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter of Human and People's Rights; abhors that this Bill, currently before the Uganda parliament, proposes the death penalty for repeat homosexual acts, extends the existing penalty of life imprisonment for anal intercourse to all other same-sex behaviour, including the mere touching of another person with the intent to have homosexual relations and imposes life imprisonment for contracting a same-sex marriage; notes that under the provisions of the Bill membership of providing funding for gay organisations advocating gay human rights and providing condoms or safer sex advice to gay people will result in a sentence of between five and seven years for promoting homosexuality and that a person in authority who fails to report offenders to the police within 24 hours will incur a three year prison sentence; further notes that this monstrous proposed law contains extra-territorial jurisdiction so that it will apply to Ugandans who breach its provisions whilst living abroad, even in countries where such behaviour is not a criminal offence, and that such Ugandans living overseas could be subject to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda; and demands that the Ugandan government uphold international humanitarian law by abandoning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalising same-sex acts between consenting adults in private, and outlawing discrimination against gay people
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