Happy Valentine’s Day from the Ugandan Government!

Uganda’s State Minister for Ethics and Integrity crashed a private conference for gay rights activists in Entebbe today, announcing, “I have closed this conference because it’s illegal. We do not accept homosexuality in Uganda. So go back home.”

The comments on the Daily Monitor article about the incident are largely in support of the minister, including this logical stunner (emphasis mine):

I applaud the minister!! If homosexual was good why so secretive? Uganda should not allow the evil habit to erode our society. Even animals know better. Thumbs up Uganda

#headdesk, on so many fronts that I’m not going to bother to list them. Among them, as helpfully pointed out by the Monitor:

This comes on the heels of a private members bill recently tabled in Parliament by David Bahati that seeks to punish “aggravated homosexuality,” and proposes the death sentence for someone deemed to be a “serial offender.” Although homosexuality is illegal under the penal code, public assembly of gay persons is not a crime. But that would change once Bahati’s bill is signed into law.

A little more background on why gay rights organizers in Uganda are treading carefully—including the fact that “serial offenders” under the new bill would include those who are not themselves gay but neglect to report two gay friends to the police—is here.

  • This is interesting. I attended a similar conference on Valentine’s Day in 2010 in Kampala, where I found myself wondering how so many representatives of local, national, and international media could show up and interview high-profile Ugandan activists and clergy without the government stepping in to disrupt things. Given all that’s happened since then, it’s frankly surprising that it took them this long to throw a wrench in things. In many ways the organizational machine of activism has made it too late for ministerial homophobes; the fact is that the activists are so well-funded and so much better organized that their voices are sure to be heard. Here’s to our Ugandan GLBT brothers and sisters and their allies for ensuring that this continues to be true!