Uganda’s proposed anti-gay legislation has gotten a lot of press since its contents were made public in October. I think this is fantastic, especially as the coverage becomes increasingly focused on how this bill is partly a proxy for American culture wars, in terms of both American evangelical support for the bill and American LGBT activist opposition.
Amidst all the media hubbub, however, I’m concerned that there has been so little discussion of LGBT-related laws elsewhere in the world. Uganda is considering the death penalty for certain homosexual acts (including those committed by people with HIV and/or for “repeat offenders”), yes, but homosexuality itself carries a death sentence in eight other countries right now, none of which have been mentioned in any of the articles I’ve read on the subject in the last three months.
Homosexuality legal Same-sex marriage Other type of partnership (or unregistered cohabitation) Foreign same-sex marriages recognized No recognition of same-sex couples
Homosexuality illegal Minimal penalty Large penalty Life in prison Death penalty
In case it’s hard to see: being gay is punishable by death in Iran, Mauritania, parts of Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, the UAE and Yemen.
It’s easy to sweep these countries under the rug as being full of crazy Muslims and ergo impossible to dissuade from executing gays. It shouldn’t be, though — especially as we continue to blame American Christians for promoting Uganda’s hate-filled bill.
I’m not saying the US should drop everything and focus its relationships with these countries on the way they treat their LGBT populations. The US obviously has bigger issues to tackle (as do bloggers and journalists who pay attention to these countries).
Still. Every time you read something new about the bill in Uganda, please try to remember the other eight.
P.S. A ton of other countries enforce punishments for homosexuality ranging from a few months in prison to a decade or more of hard labor. Check out the full list on Wikipedia.