Scott Lively has been backtracking from his support for Uganda’s harsh new anti-gay law, telling the Associated Press that he would “rather the Ugandans had followed the Russian anti-propaganda model.” In a statement published on his website yesterday, Lively repeats his praise of Russia’s “gay propaganda ban” as a way to “avoid the moral degeneracy that has occurred in the U.S. and E.U. due to so-called ‘gay rights.’”
While Lively says the law’s punishments are too harsh, he applauds Uganda for “taking a strong stand against the homosexual abuse of children and the intentional spreading of AIDS through sodomy” and reassures detractors that he doesn’t think the law’s threat of life imprisonment for gays will actually be enforced.
While I respect the right of sovereign nations to legislate sexual morality according to their own cultural standards, I believe the Ugandan anti-homosexuality law takes the wrong approach in dealing with simple homosexuality (as opposed to pederasty and the other sub-categories of “aggravated homosexuality” in the bill). As I said in my comments to the Ugandan Members of Parliament I addressed in March, 2009 before the AHB had been drafted, the focus of a government seeking to protect its people from the homosexual agenda should be on rehabilitation and prevention, not punishment.
I believe the Russian approach of banning homosexual propaganda to children as a preventive measure is a better model for other nations of the world looking avoid the moral degeneracy that has occurred in the U.S. and E.U. due to so-called “gay rights.”
That having been said, I commend Uganda for removing the death penalty in the final version of the law and for taking a strong stand against the homosexual abuse of children and the intentional spreading of AIDS through sodomy. I urge the Ugandans to exercise mercy and compassion for homosexual strugglers in their enforcement of the new law and, on behalf of the pro-family movement in the U.S., stand ready to assist in any future effort to shift the emphasis of the law from punishment to rehabilitation and prevention.
As a final point I think it is important for people to recognize that the Ugandan law is typical of African criminal law across the continent. Poor countries with limited criminal justice systems tend to rely on the harshness of the letter of the law to be a deterrent to offenders. In practice, the sentencing is usually pretty lenient and I expect that will be the case under this new law as well.