#Human Rights
Ugandan Embassy in London

Support for Ugandan Unitarian’s Fight for LGBT Equality.

The Unitarian Universalist Association of Uganda is preparing to take a strong and courageous stand against the Ugandan government's proposed Anti Homosexuality Bill. This legislation, proposed in the Ugandan Parliament, would criminalize homosexuality and enforce penalties of life imprisonment and capital punishment against gays and lesbians. Their allies would also face drastic punishments.

The UU Church of Kampala is one of the few religious organizations in Uganda that is welcoming and supportive of the LGBT community. In 2008 Unitarian Universalist representatives from America met with both gay and straight Ugandans who offered powerful accounts of the terror that the Ugandan LGBT community faces, and the importance of the congregation's support. This visit occurred many months before the current legislation was proposed.

Ugandan UUs plan to hold a conference on February 14, 2010, to highlight the need for an end to discriminatory treatment of the LGBT population—and their allies—in the country. The Conference also has the following goals:

• To achieve permanent, fundamental, real equality for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people by affecting fundamental changes in the attitudes of society.

• To defeat discriminatory legislation and exclusionary policies and practices.

• To build a strong social movement of LGBT people with a fully representative and activist base.
The conference will include programs about Promoting Equality and Access to Justice, Research, and Lobbying/Advocacy. More than 200 Ugandans from various faith traditions are expected to attend.

UUA President Peter Morales recently wrote,
“Rarely, if ever, has the UU tradition of living our faith been more crucial than it is at this moment. Right now in Uganda we have seen an alarming rise in violence and prejudice toward people who are even assumed to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Right now, Ugandan citizens, including members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Uganda, fear they will be killed because of this growing culture of oppression against LGBT people.”

Two days after this announcement activist David Kato (pictured) was beaten to death. Before his death, he had recently warned that the lives of LGBT people in Uganda were in danger. A newspaper in Uganda had published the names and addresses of people suspected of being LGBT prominently on its front page. An accompanying article with the headline “Hang Them,” called for the death of the people listed.

Kato and several other Ugandan activists sued the paper and won. The Ugandan High Court ordered the newspaper to pay damages and to cease publishing the names of people it believed were gay or lesbian.
Kato was a Ugandan high school teacher who moved to South Africa in the 1990s after coming out. He returned to Uganda to advocate for gay rights, organizing the first gay rights news conference in Kampala. In his mid-40s, Kato had recently installed an alarm system in his house for protection.

The Ugandan Parliament is considering a bill that would condemn some homosexuals to life in prison or death. It has created a new level of fear for the country’s gay population. “The situation remains too dangerous for us to stand idly by,” Morales said.

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Uganda in Kampala are working to protect LGBT people in Uganda, led by the Rev. Mark Kiyimba. “We cannot, in good conscience, allow them to struggle alone,” Morales said. “Even recent anti-bigotry legislation in Uganda will not stop the hatred and violence aimed at the LGBT community.”

I invite you to sign this petition condemning the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill and the current spate of persecution being endured by the LBGT Community in Uganda and urging the Ugandan Government to seek to institute laws which will bring about justice and equality to all its people regardless of race, gender or sexuality.

We, the undersigned call upon H.E. Amb. Joan Rwabyomere, Uganda's High Commissioner in London to convey our concern and opposition to the discrimination being endured by members of the LGBT Community in Uganda and the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, to the Ugandan Government.

We would urge the Ugandan Government to introduce equality Laws that guarantee the safety of all Ugandan Citizens regardless of race, gender, religion, sex, sexuality.

The Stand against Ugandan government's proposed Anti Homosexuality Bill petition to Ugandan Embassy in London was written by Rev Chris Goacher and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.