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article imageUganda court annuls anti-gay legislation introduced in February

By Kev Hedges     Aug 1, 2014 in World
Kampala - Uganda's Constitutional Court has annulled draconian anti-homosexual legislation cleared into law in February. The court found the bill was passed illegally and therefore has no place in Ugandan law.
The original act, passed overwhelmingly by MPs, gave courts the right to pass down sentences of life imprisonment for aggressive homosexual advances and those actively promoting gay rights. Since the law came into force earlier this year several donors cut aid to the country.
It has always been illegal to live in Uganda and be gay and many of its citizens oppose gay rights and indulging in homosexual acts, which carried the sentence of life imprisonment before the new laws were introduced; but earlier drafts of the new act would have meant sentences and imprisonment for those who fail to report any acts of homosexuality committed in their organization or neighbourhood.
Living in Uganda as an openly-gay person has always been tough but the new law would have made this illegal and impossible. That clause was later removed but the presiding judge at the Constitutional Court said there were an insufficient number of lawmakers present to vote on the bill.
The law, which was approved by President Yoweri Museveni in February, made existing laws even harsher. Lesbians were covered for the first time and those found living in a same-sex partnerships could have found they were liable to be sentenced to life imprisonment.
The strict new laws were challenged by a small group of journalists, academics, opposition members of parliament, human rights activists and gay rights campaigners. Still, many who backed the law are angry that the Constitutional Court has overturned the laws, saying they are timed to coincide with the president's visit to Washington next week for the US-Africa Summit.
More about lgbt rights, African antigay, Uganda law, high court backs gays, African court gays
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