Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, expressed her support for the law on Twitter, urging those responsible for its enforcement to carry out their duties. The legislation extends beyond existing laws criminalizing same-sex relations in Uganda and targets individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ).
Punishments outlined in the law include capital punishment for specific acts, such as engaging in gay sex while HIV positive, as well as a 20-year prison sentence for “promoting” homosexuality. Despite criticism from Western governments, businesses, and human rights activists, President Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2023 into law, alongside five other pieces of legislation.
The Ugandan lawmakers, who passed the revised bill, defended their actions as a means to protect Uganda’s values against perceived Western immorality. The amended law differentiates between identifying as gay and engaging in same-sex acts, with the latter carrying a life imprisonment penalty.
President Museveni had previously expressed the need for clarity in distinguishing between someone’s sexual orientation and their actions, proposing that only actual homosexual acts should be criminalized, rather than mere professed orientation.
In the past, a less restrictive anti-LGBTQ law in 2014 was invalidated on procedural grounds by a domestic court, following initial aid suspensions, visa restrictions, and security cooperation limitations imposed by Western nations. Given Uganda’s reliance on foreign aid, the country may now face further sanctions as a result of this new law