THE UGANDA ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL, NO 18, 2009.
I am Reverend Rowland Jide Macaulay, Pastor of House Of Rainbow Metropolitan Community Church (MCC).
I am here in my capacity as a religious leader with the Metropolitan Community Churches, as a human rights activist, as the executive member of the Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).
We are extremely horrified by the attempts of the government in Uganda to outlaw homosexuality, by introducing the Uganda Anti-Homosexual Bill 2009. The provisions of this bill blatantly violate Uganda’s Constitution and many other regional and international instruments.
We have come here today to dramatize a shocking condition, we have come here to claim the rights and freedom of homosexuals in Uganda. The Uganda constitution guaranteed freedom, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all her citizens without prejudice, we ask today that this freedom proclaimed in this constitution be honoured for all people including Lesbians and Gays.
By virtue of this gathering, it is obvious that we are concerned that the Ugandan law makers have defaulted by asking for a bill to criminalize homosexuals.
The Uganda Anti- Homosexual bill is outrageous and draconian in nature. The bill shows the height of dictatorship, patriarchy and authoritarianism, Patriarchy in today’s society is evil. What would Jesus do? Would Jesus discriminate against homosexuals?
I believe there are no gaps in the existing Penal Code 140 of Uganda’ constitution which currently criminalizes homosexuality, the human rights position is to repeal the offending code which came to Uganda through the efforts of colonialism.
This bill is discriminatory and it will affect the poor and defenseless people. It also provides unjust powers for the detention of any persons suspected of homosexuality which can fuel acrimonious and malicious abuse of authority.
Homosexuality historically has been part of the human culture and often celebrated in religion, then it must be part of the traditional values, we must continue to look at the changes and new experiences in the global south, such as South Africa, Nepal and India.
To deny the existence of homosexuals and criminalize same sex relations and other minority groups, under the disguise of ‘Legal protection of cultural, religious and traditional values of Uganda are barbaric.
Prohibiting same sex loving relationship will only spell more danger and further push underground the government’s responsibilities to enshrine the human rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex people.
State sponsored Homophobia, discrimination, prejudice and hatred are the violators.
What we want
We have come to demand justice, freedom, protection and security not just for lesbians and gays but also for anyone likely to be affected by this bill.
I strongly believe in “the Greatest Commandment”. Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” Matthew 22:34-40
I call on the religious communities throughout the world to speak out against this bill, let us not be silent. It is our duty to do what is good, what the Lord requires of us, to do justice, love mercy/kindness and walk humbly with God.
Finally, I ask today that fellow activists, civil society, religious people and organizations/movements that are inclusive, welcoming and affirming, should not only pray but understand that we need to “Put on the whole armor of God, so that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” Ephesians 6:11-12.
We shall continue to lobby foreign governments to condemn this bill, we shall continue to advise the commonwealth and United Nations to denounce this bill.
I want to encourage all Lesbian and gay leaders of Uganda, allies, human right defenders and others, never to give up on the ‘threat of their civil liberties’. I believe this protest will convene another change in Africa, meanwhile let us sing or shout;
“We shall overcome,
We shall overcome, some day”.