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‘Aggravated’ by Uganda’s anti-gay law

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Russia, India and Australia made news in the last week for a range of actions that deny basic civil rights and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in those nations. But Uganda is the dean of the delegation when it comes to prosecution and persecution of gays. And today a long-stalled bill against “aggravated homosexuality” became law.

Since 2009, David Bahati has been trying to get this noxious bill passed by the legislature. The punishment for being gay in Uganda is imprisonment for life. As in Russia, it is now against the law to promote homosexuality, including talking about equal rights. But, hey, look on the bright side. The original legislation called for all gays to be reported to the government and for some gays to be put to death. That some American churches helped bankroll this effort is beyond shameful.

Uganda’s is the most notorious move in Africa to prosecute and persecute gay people. But it’s not alone. Roger Jean-Claude Mbédé learned a year ago this week that texting while gay is a crime in Cameroon. In 2011, a government official in Ghana called on that nation’s intelligence service to arrest all gay men and lesbians. And when President Obama spoke openly about his support of LGBT people while in Senegal in June, that nation’s president said that while Senegal “does not discriminate in terms of inalienable rights of the human being….[W]e are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality.”

That the tide is flowing against the basic civil rights of LGBT people around the world is what’s truly aggravating. No, frightening.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj