President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has finally signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023.
The Anti-Homosexuality Act, a highly contentious piece of legislation, has been a subject of intense discussion and lobbying both within and outside Uganda. Last month, Museveni returned the bill for review, especially in regard to clear definition between homosexuality and acts of homosexuality.
Museveni said it was wrong for the original bill to punish a homosexual or reformed homosexual who wasn't involved in the promotion or acts of homosexuality.
The new Act doesn't criminalise anyone who identifies as homosexual, but mandates life in prison for anyone who engages in homosexual acts, up to 20 years for promoting homosexuality, and a three-year sentence for children convicted of homosexuality while certain acts of gay sex could warrant the death penalty.
The speaker of parliament, Anita Among took to Twitter to express gratitude for the president's resolute action.
"I thank His Excellency, the president, for his steadfast action in the interest of Uganda," Among said.
She noted that the parliament believes that the law safeguards the sanctity of the family, in accordance with Article 31 of the Ugandan Constitution. Additionally, she stated that the legislation aligns with the cultural values and aspirations of the Ugandan people, as outlined in objectives 19 and 24 of the national objectives and directive principles of state policy.
She further commended the MPs for standing strong against external pressure and criticisms, attributing their resilience to the commitment to upholding Uganda's motto, "For God and our Country."
“I now encourage the duty bearers under the law to execute the mandate bestowed upon them in the Anti-Homosexuality Act. The people of Uganda have spoken, and it is your duty to now enforce the law in a fair, steadfast, and firm manner,” she said.
The enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act triggered widespread international reactions, with human rights organizations and advocacy groups expressing concern over its potential impact on the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ+ community. The law has faced criticism for its potential to promote discrimination and persecution.