REPORTS have emerged that Uganda’s Constitutional Court has struck down the country’s controversial anti-gay laws.

The draconian law punished homosexuality with life imprisonment.

However, the country’s penal code, which still exists, punishes homosexuality with up to seven years in prison.

The overturning of the more recent Anti-Homosexuality Act came about after petitioners urged the Uganda’s Constitutional Court to determine that the government approved the law without following proper protocol.

The prison life sentence of the Anti-Homosexuality Act targetted those who were caught having gay sex involving an HIV-infected person, sex with minors or the disabled, and when anyone is caught having gay sex for the second time.

It also made it a crime to publicly promote homosexuality, which could mean simply offering HIV counselling or discussions by rights groups.

It’s been reported that a quorum call by Ugandan Primce Minister Amana Mbabazi was ignored by House Speaker Rebecca Kadaga after she introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Act for a parliamentary vote on December 20.

Petitioners argued that without a quorum, the law was not passed as per constitutional procedure. The court agreed and said it was an “illegality”.

Since the Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed in December, there have been reports of lynchings, mob violence, blackmail, lost jobs, arrests, evictions, arsons, suicides and an increase in homophobia in general throughout Uganda.

It’s also been reported that the Constitutional Court also awarded petitioners 50 per cent of the legal costs after their victory.

Among the petitioners were trans* advocate Pepe Julian Onziema, activist Frank Mugisha and human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo.

Concerns remain that parliament could attempt to pass the law again but this time with in a proper procedure.

 

© Star Observer 2014 | For the latest in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* and Intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also pick up the next Star Observer monthly magazine November 21 or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.