The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) was outraged to hear that a draft bill was recently introduced in the Ugandan parliament, which proposes to further criminalise homosexuality.
The Ugandan Penal Code already criminalises gay sex, which is classified as an “unnatural offence” and any person who has carnal knowledge of any person “against the order of nature” is liable to imprisonment for life.
The new draft bill includes women, bans the “promotion of homosexuality”, and voids any ratified international treaties. It also prohibits any future ratification of international treaties which aim to protect the human rights of homosexuals and makes those who fail to report a homosexual offence liable for six months imprisonment.
Uganda is one of 86 countries which still criminalise homosexual acts. In seven of those countries, homosexual acts are punishable by death.
As more and more of the global community recognise the rights of LGBT people, it is incredibly disappointing that Uganda appears to be stepping back in time by proposing these archaic and offensive provisions.
Compared to Uganda, Australia is light years ahead in terms of recognising the rights of lesbians and gay men. Australia is one of the 115 countries where homosexuality is legal and is one of the 97 countries that have an equal age of consent (with the exception of Queensland). Our relationships are also largely recognised at state and federal levels, and discrimination against LGBT people is prohibited in NSW.
However, Australia continues to lag behind the global community on the issues of joint adoption (in NSW), full marriage equality, and federal anti-discrimination protection.
Ten countries, as well as a host of Canadian provinces and US states, now recognise joint adoption for same-sex couples. Seven countries and five US states now recognise same-sex marriage, and discrimination based on sexual orientation is constitutionally prohibited in 10 countries.
By looking at the rights of LGBT people in different countries we can gain some perspective on how Australia fares. While certainly LGBT people in Australia are afforded more rights and protections than those in Uganda, we are also falling behind a growing portion of the world’s countries that now recognises same-sex marriage, adoption rights and has federal anti-discrimination protection. These issues remain priorities for the GLRL.

info: For more information see the report State-sponsored homophobia by the International Lesbian and Gay Association available from www.ilga.org

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