Reports say Ugandan parliament will return to anti-gay bill

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Reports say that the Ugandan parliament is to return to considering an anti-homosexuality bill next week.

It is one of several bills to be debated by the Law and Parliamentary Affairs committee when parliament returns, reports.

Another report, from the government-owned New Vision, said the anti-homosexuality bill would be debated next week.

The committee chairman, Stephen Tashobya, told reporters yesterday that it was up to MPs to pass the bill.

He said the committee would hold public meetings on the bill’s provisions and the House could look at passing it before parliament ends in May.

There have been conflicting reports about the bill’s status, with some media outlets suggesting it had been shelved.

However, the MP who tabled it in 2009, David Bahati, has been adamant that parliament will debate it and said he would continue to lobby Ugandans to support it.

The bill would strengthen Uganda’s strict laws against homosexuality. Gay sex is already punishable with life in prison, but the bill would widen the definition of homosexuality, which currently requires evidence of penetrative sex.

It would also criminalise people who do not inform authorities of incidents of homosexuality – such as teachers, friends and family members of gay people.

The most drastic provision in the bill would impose the death penalty on offenders who have gay sex with minors, disabled people or while HIV-positive.