Exodus International board member Don Schmierer will be pleased to learn that his role in a Uganda campaign to imprison and kill homosexuals is bearing fruit.
Legislative efforts launched at Schmierer’s March 2009 ex-gay conference in Kampala have resulted in a pending bill that goes beyond Uganda’s current punishment of life imprisonment for LGBT Ugandans.
According to an official Uganda media organ New Vision, the new bill requires the death penalty if either partner is HIV-positive, regardless of any safer-sex precautions. The bill also requires imprisonment of five to seven years for anyone who funds or sponsors efforts to protect free speech about sexual orientation or to oppose antigay bullying.
Schmierer and Exodus continue to offer no public opposition to events transpiring in Uganda as a result of their participation in the March conference. In fact, Exodus spokesman Randy Thomas yesterday defended Schmierer and affirmed Exodus’ silent complicity in a comment at the blog of Warren Throckmorton. His only objection to the legislation: Minors shouldn’t necessarily be executed for same-sex activity.
Congratulations, Exodus. Mission (almost) accomplished.
Unfortunately for Exodus, Human Rights Watch is loudly protesting both the new legislation and an ongoing campaign of vigilantism and murder that was launched by the same conference.
“This draft bill is clearly an attempt to divide and weaken civil society by striking at one of its most marginalized groups” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “The government may be starting here, but who will be next?”
The bill would criminalize the legitimate work of national and international activists and organizations working for the defense and promotion of human rights in Uganda. It would also put major barriers in the path of effective HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, the groups said.
Human Rights Watch also points out that the new draft bill includes a provision that could lead to the imprisonment for up to three years of anyone, including heterosexual people, who fails to report within 24 hours the identities of everyone they know who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or who supports human rights for people who are.