Editors' Note: Guest blogger Melanie Nathan is an equality and human rights activist. She is the publisher of Gay USA, the Movie and Blog.
The Ugandan parliament is set to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, under the sponsorship of MP David Bahati. While inisting that the bill will not be heard until November 2011, sources in Uganda have informed Paul Canning of LGBT Asylum that the bill could pass as soon as within two weeks.
I have started a petition designed to inform the Ugandans of the consequences should this bill pass, further criminalizing homosexuality. In it, I note:
"Our stand shall be the same, whether or not the death penalty clause is taken out. We will not stand for the criminalization of a natural orientation. It is a human right to be true to one's nature, the way one was born. There is no such thing as recruiting gays. It is simply not possible to force someone to be attracted to a member of the same-sex. The entire premise for the Bahati bill is flawed and Ugandans should not be duped by the self-serving rhetroic and myth."
If this bill passes it will register that Ugandans are ascribing to the view that "homosexuality is not a human right," as MP Hon. David Bahati told me.
The bill may be passed within a fortnight, surreptitiously; but that cannot silence the world. The petition on change.org sets out typical consequences that activists around the world plan to pursue, as follows:
Ugandans must know ahead what the consequences will be; let us tell them now:
- American and International Corporations will not be able to function in a Country where employers cannot send gay and lesbian executives, employees, representatives;
- The U.S. Government and other countries would be placing its gay and lesbian envoys, employees at risk - regardless of diplomatic immunity -
- The LGBT communities around the world and allies will be calling for trade boycotts and divestment from Uganda;
- Tourism to Uganda will be boycotted by the International community;
- Ugandan Coffee importers will be targeted in the U.S.A.
- Uganda's interests in the U.S.A. and other countries will be targeted for protests;
- The world LGBTI community and allies will continue to pressure President Zuma to remove Jon Qwelane from Uganda and to stop South African investment in Uganda;
- The Gay communities of the world will demand the U.S.A. and U.K. and other Western countries offer asylum to LGBTI people in Uganda and safe passage to other countries.
- Activists will target the Banks that provide services in Uganda with boycotts and account closures;
- Uganda will be excluded from international sports;
- U.S. will be pressured to stop aid to Uganda;
The world will not tolerate any country criminalizing homosexuality, arresting and sentencing homosexuals; gays, lesbians and transgender people, live as others do; living one's natural orientation is not a crime.
Uganda must understand that notwithstanding the fact that it is a sovereign nation and that its parliament can pass any laws, if it plans to impinge on basic human rights such as the right to one's natural orientation, it will, as a country, isolate itself and must be prepared to live accordingly.
The above will apply even if the death-sentence is removed from the bill.
Thank you to the world for caring about all people.
In Solidarity with our African family, and in memory of our brother David Kato.