Uganda drops anti-gay bill death penalty

Nov. 23, 2012 at 4:57 PM

KAMPALA, Uganda, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- A member of the Ugandan parliament said the country's anti-homosexuality bill is ready to be debated and passed, although its death penalty has been dropped.

Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the bill would be passed as a "Christmas present" to its advocates, although Member of Parliament Medard Segona said "substantial amendments" have been made to the bill.

Although the death penalty for homosexual acts was removed, the bill still proposes life sentences for "aggravated homosexuality" -- including sex with a minor or sex while HIV-positive, disabled or a "serial offender," the BBC reported Friday.

The original bill, since amended, prohibited the "promotion" of gay rights and called for punishment of anyone who "funds or sponsors homosexuality" or "abets homosexuality," the BBC said.

The bill has been strongly condemned by Western leaders -- including U.S. President Barack Obama, who called it "odious" -- and international donors have threatened to cut off aid to Uganda if it does not do more to protect the rights of gay people.

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