Ugandan Parliament adjourns without action on ‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’

The Ugandan Parliament adjourned today without action on the infamous “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” targeting homosexuality with severe penalties. The bill’s fate was unsure throughout the week. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission issued the following update this afternoon:
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission joins colleagues in Uganda in welcoming today’s closing of the current Ugandan Parliament without adoption of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The news comes after a week in which the possibility of the notorious bill’s adoption loomed large. The proposed legislation has existed as a threat for nearly two years and activists in Uganda and internationally have once again had to spend already limited resources pressuring and educating lawmakers on the perils of the bill’s passage.

Activists shared the news with relief and appreciation for the expressions of global solidarity along with a note of caution on the need for continued vigilance —
the Anti-Homosexuality Bill may be reintroduced in the next session of Parliament, which opens on May 18, 2011.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey says:

We are very much heartened by the global uproar against this barbaric bill. People from around the world rose up against this inconceivable, inhumane injustice to speak out on behalf of our common humanity. While we are relieved Parliament has closed without action on the bill, it is critical we remain vigilant in monitoring and combating the virulent homophobia that exists, and that we continue to stand in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans.

The Task Force, as well as its National Religious Leadership Roundtable, has consistently spoken out against this bill. At the last two convenings of the annual National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change — the largest gathering of LGBT rights advocates in the U.S. — people of faith and allies gathered to denounce the persecution of LGBT Ugandans. The Bishops and Elders Council, convened by the Task Force, also held a vigil to support Ugandan LGBT people.

The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, faith work director at the Task Force, says:

It is with relief and joy that we heard news that justice has held sway today in Uganda. As a pastor, I give thanks to God. And I continue to pray that these same leaders will take a stand against the human rights violations that are happening every day in Uganda. I also want to call out the continuing support for homophobia of several radical right U.S. political and religious leaders. Still, enormous amounts of money pour into Uganda from U.S. coffers with the sole purpose of promoting virulent hatred against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans. This must end.