Two men are to be tried in Uganda for having sex. They have been imprisoned since December 2013 and their trial is scheduled for next month.
What is the precise nature of their crime? They are accused of ‘carnal knowledge against the order of nature’.
This description of ‘nature’ is misleading and wrong. Nature is rife with same-sex unions from insects through to mammals. So Nature should not be held up as the exemplar of heterosexuality.
These two adult men will be tried for expressing their sexuality, not under new anti gay laws that are being challenged in the Constitutional Court, and have been condemned internationally, but under a 1950 law that prohibits sodomy.
Ugandan Pesident, Yoweri Museveni is quoted by CNN as saying “I’ve been told recently that what they do is terrible. Disgusting. But I was ready to ignore that if there was proof that that’s how he is born, abnormal. But now the proof is not there.”
Having commissioned a report by scientists to suggest that homosexuality is learned behaviour, the Ugandan government then enacted new laws which made some homosexual acts punishable by life in prison.
The following day a Ugandan tabloid, red Pepper, printed a cover story with the headline ‘Uganda’s 200 Top Homos Named’.
This witch hunt against gay people should offend all who think human rights are important, no matter what part of the world you live in, or the majority opinion of those who seek to oppress a perceived minority.
This from the CNN website:
Thirty-eight African countries have made homosexuality illegal. Most sodomy laws there were introduced during colonialism.
Even before Museveni signed the bill into law, homosexual acts were punishable by 14 years to life in prison.
Ugandan gay rights activist Pepe Julian Onziema told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that some gay people in Uganda would rather kill themselves than live under the new law.
“Prior to the bill becoming law today, people attempted suicide because they are like, ‘I’m not going to live to see this country kill me — so I would rather take my life.’ “