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Australia finally condemns Uganda
Australia has joined the chorus of nations raising concerns with Uganda’s Government over its proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
The bill punishes any expression of same-sex intimacy with life imprisonment, while HIV-positive GLBT people having sex will be eligible for the death penalty. Condom use is not a mitigating factor.
A Foreign Affairs department spokeswoman confirmed the Head of Mission at Australia’s High Commission in neighbouring Kenya had made personal representations to the Ugandan Government over the bill.
The Head of Mission also wrote to the Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, outlining the Australian Government’s concerns.
Formal protests against the bill were lodged with the Ugandan Government by the European Union, Norway and the United States.
Sweden has gone further, threatening to stop all aid to the country if the bill is passed.
Major religious figures have also come out against the bill, with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and head of the Global Anglican Communion, stating his opposition.
Pastor Rick Warren, of the American evangelical Saddleback Church, has belatedly come out against the proposed law, calling it a “terrible bill”.
The campaign against homosexuals in Uganda has received the blessing of both the Ugandan Anglican Church and Ugandan evangelical leaders previously mentored by Warren.
The Exodus International ex-gay ministry, which sent a speaker to an anti-gay convention in Uganda this year, has written to Uganda’s president opposing the bill.
Following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago last month it was expected that Uganda would drop the bill’s death penalty component.
However, Uganda’s Minister of Ethics, James Buturo said there will be no compromise, telling The Guardian, “If [countries] choose to withdraw their aid they are free [to]… because Ugandans do not want to engage in anal sex. We do not care.”