An anti-gay law championed by evangelical Christians in Uganda with the enthusiastic backing of Religious Right leaders in the U.S. has passed parliament and is awaiting the president’s decision on whether to sign it. The bill as passed apparently no longer includes the death penalty provision but makes homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison. LGBT activist Frank Mugisha says his colleagues are panicking, fearing that “there is going to be a hunt.”
Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan minister who has pushed the bill for years, and has been praised by Religious Right leaders like Matt Barber for his strident anti-gay stance, tweeted “Let Freedom Ring!” and posted a celebratory picture of himself with David Bahati, the bill’s sponsor.
Ssempa got plenty of help from American Religious Right figures like Lou Engle and Scott Lively, who is facing a human rights lawsuit brought by Sexual Minorities of Uganda. “This human rights crisis was made here in the United States,” says Tarso Luís Ramos, Executive Director at Political Research Associates.
Given that American Religious Right figures had praised the bill in its even more draconian form – Tony Perkins called it an effort to “uphold moral conduct” – it is sadly unsurprising to see some of them cheering. American Family Association hatemonger Bryan Fischer connected the law’s passage to the controversy in America over Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. Fischer tweeted:
Uganda stands with Phil. Makes homosexuality contrary to public policy. It can be done. http://t.co/QeEvVkfBGa
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) December 20, 2013
So much for “live and let live.”