August 9, 2014

Uganda’s Anglican Leader Doubles Down on Anti-gay Law

c. 2014 Religion News Service

Uganda’s top Anglican leader criticized the constitutional court for
striking down the country’s controversial anti-gay law on a technicality,
saying the law is still needed to protect children and families from
Western-imported homosexuality.

A five-judge panel on August 1 declared the Anti-Homosexuality Act,
2014, null and void since it was passed by parliament without the required
quorum. Dismissing the law on a technicality maintains the possibility that it
could be revived in a different form.

The law punishes homosexual acts with life imprisonment. President
Yoweri Museveni signed the measure in February, drawing harsh criticism from
Western nations and cuts in foreign aid.

Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali called the decision a
disappointment for the Church of Uganda, religious leaders and many Ugandans. “The
‘court of public opinion’ has clearly indicated its support for the Act, and we
urge Parliament to consider voting again on the Bill with the proper quorum in
place,” Ntagali said.

Uganda’s religious leaders had widely supported the law, but opposed
an earlier clause threatening the death penalty for some homosexual acts. Most
Ugandan church leaders say homosexuality is against God’s order and
African cultures. Such a law was needed to protect families, children and
youth, the leaders stressed. “I appeal to all God-fearing people and all
Ugandans to remain committed to the support against homosexuality,” said
Ntagali, whose church cut ties with the Episcopal Church, the American branch
of Anglicanism, after the election of an openly gay bishop in 2003.

David Bahati, the member of parliament who authored the bill, said the
government’s attorney general will petition the Supreme Court over the ruling, suggesting
that the law will be revived.