Beliefs Culture

Uganda’s Anglican leader doubles down on anti-gay law

Gay rights activists share a light moment during a demonstration in Nairobi against Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014, in February. RNS photo by Fredrick Nzwili

(RNS) Uganda’s top Anglican leader criticized the constitutional court for striking down the country’s controversial anti-gay law on a technicality, saying the law is still needed to protect children and families from Western-imported homosexuality.

Gay rights activists share a light moment during a demonstration in Nairobi against Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality law in February, 2014. RNS photo by Fredrick Nzwili

Gay rights activists share a light moment during a demonstration in Nairobi against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014, in February. RNS photo by Fredrick Nzwili

A five-judge panel on Friday (Aug. 1) declared the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014, null and void since it was passed by parliament without the required quorum. Dismissing the law on a technicality maintains the possibility that it could be revived in a different form.

The law punishes homosexual acts with life imprisonment. President Yoweri Museveni signed the measure in February, drawing harsh criticism from Western nations and cuts in foreign aid.

Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali called the decision a disappointment for the Church of Uganda, religious leaders and many Ugandans.

“The ‘court of public opinion’ has clearly indicated its support for the Act, and we urge Parliament to consider voting again on the Bill with the proper quorum in place,” Ntagali said on Monday.

Uganda’s religious leaders had widely supported the law, but opposed an earlier clause threatening the death penalty for some homosexual acts. Most Ugandan church leaders say homosexuality is against God’s order and African cultures. Such a law was needed to protect families, children and youth, the leaders stressed.

“I appeal to all God-fearing people and all Ugandans to remain committed to the support against homosexuality,” said Ntagali, whose church cut ties with the Episcopal Church, the American branch of Anglicanism, after the election of an openly gay bishop in 2003.

Gays and lesbians celebrated the verdict as their victory and a sign of freedom, but analysts view it as a start of a long battle for gay rights in the country.

“I am no longer criminal,” Kasha Jacqueline, a prominent gay activist, tweeted. “We have made history for generations to come.”

David Bahati, the member of parliament who authored the bill, said the government’s attorney general will petition the Supreme Court over the ruling, giving the greatest sign that the law will be revived.


About the author

Fredrick Nzwili

Fredrick Nzwili is a journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. For more than 15 years, he has written about religion, politics, peace and conflict, development, security, environment and wildlife. His articles have appeared in international media organizations among others; The Tablet, The Christian Science Monitor, The National Geographic and Kenyan local newspapers; The Standard and the People Daily.


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  • I agree, its an american import. Debauchery is all we excel at.

    Don’t agree with life imprisonment though. Or jail at all. They dont need government for this. They should just let their society respond organically. Not violence. But people naturally choosing their associations are circle of friends is sufficient to cleanse tangent behavior.

    Thats why the west has its media wedge machine and activist apparatus. Everyone in america is statist. No one here believes in freedom. Your acceptance of associations you would naturally dismiss is not a choice.

  • The british anglican officials should work on it to get some common sence in the heads of the Uganda church- and civil authorities and free the gay people of this barbarism!!

  • Wherever Religion is strong, misery and death is the result.

    Ugandan officials feel comfortable
    and even HOLY for attacking gay people.
    They are showing their LOVE of GOD by following his commands:

    Kill Homosexuals
 “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

  • Debauchery was imported to Uganda in the form of Evangelicals using influence to get this crime against humanity legalized.

    They were trying to do in Africa, what they would never be allowed to do here. Murder and imprison people under government sanction as “God’s will”.

    A government like Uganda’s which has previously sanctioned widespread theft, mass murder and sexual slavery is hardly in a position to exert “moral authority” with a straight face.