Of course I'm pleased that if this bill passes homosexuality and HIV status would not be punishable by death. But my fear in focusing on this aspect of the bill has been that the lack of discussion around the entire bill. What's left of the bill is horrible enough: seven years in prison for being gay and three years in prison for knowing someone gay and not reporting that person to the authorities. If the bill passes with these penalties in tact, I don't think there's a great deal to celebrate. The bottom line, in my book, is that there is no compromise here. None of us should be satisfied doing business and supplying aid to a country that imprisons its citizens because of who they are.
Rachel Maddow has over the past few nights done a superb job uncovering the frightening connections between the originators of the Anti-Homosexual Bill and members of the United States Congress. And these connections are even deeper than she originally believed. Time also reports a connection between the bill and some US politicians and religious figures:
The bill has an American genesis of sorts, inspired to a large extent by the visits of U.S. evangelicals who are involved with a movement that promotes Christianity's role in getting homosexuals to become "ex-gays" through prayer and faith. Ugandan supporters of the bill appear to be particularly impressed by the ideas of Scott Lively, a California conservative preacher who has written a book, The Pink Swastika, about what he calls the links between Nazism and a gay agenda for world domination, which, by itself, would have raised the anti-colonial sensitivities of Ugandan society.
Wow. Gay people are going to take over the world just as the Nazis tried to? Take over the world? I can't even keep my desk neat. It's laughable if it weren't so serious.