Constitutional Court Annuls Anti-gay Law

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe in February.
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signs an anti-homosexual bill into law at the state house in Entebbe in February.

Uganda’s Constitutional Court has annulled tough anti-gay legislation signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni in February.

It ruled that the bill was passed by MPs in December without the requisite quorum and was therefore illegal.

Homosexual acts were already illegal in Uganda, but the new law also banned the promotion of homosexuality and covered lesbians for the first time.

Several donors have cut aid to Uganda since the law was adopted.

The law’s supporters said they would appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court.

“The retrogressive anti-homosexuality act of Uganda has been struck down by the constitutional court — it’s now dead as a door nail,” said Andrew Mwenda, one of 10 petitioners.

The law, signed by Uganda’s veteran President Yoweri Museveni in February, said that homosexuals should be jailed for life, outlawed the promotion of homosexuality and obliged Ugandans to denounce gays to the authorities.

But homosexuality remains illegal and punishable by jail sentences under previous legislation, which is expected to be returned after the court’s decision.

Lawmakers could also seek to reintroduce a bill back into parliament, a potentially lengthy process, with the last such bill taking four years from introduction to the final vote.

But gay rights activists were celebrating on Friday.

“I am no longer criminal, today we have made history for generations to come,” said Kasha Jacqueline, another petitioner and a prominent gay rights activist.

Outspoken anti-gay preacher Pastor Martin Ssempa led prayers before the hearing inside the tightly packed courtroom calling for the judges to uphold the law.

Ssempa had already warned he feared the “judicial abortion of our bill” due to international pressure, and said immediately he would appeal the ruling.

“We are determined to appeal this case at the Supreme Court,” he said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has likened the law to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany.

Critics have said Museveni signed the law to win domestic support ahead of a presidential election scheduled for 2016, which will be his 30th year in power.

But Western nations made a raft of aid cuts to Uganda’s government in protest since the law was passed.

Rights groups say the law triggered a sharp increase in arrests and assaults of members of the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

5 thoughts on “Constitutional Court Annuls Anti-gay Law

  1. While I support the Anti gay law, I am completely disgusted by the crude methods our MPs apply when they want to pass laws for the sake of pleasing Museveni.
    There was nothing to hurry about. They sohlud have waited for the quorum to pass the law.
    There are many laws in our books which have been passed using this crude method of “LET US GO AND PASS IT”

    It is time our legal fraternity carried out an audit of the numbers in Parliament when certain laws were passed and bring them to the same sad end.

    As for those who are talking of appealing, i ask them on what grounds?

    1. some it becomes an habit and addiction for some thing which is dangerous for human life.
      so passing it as fast as it is saves the lifes of the poor.

    2. I don`t support the anti-gay law ,why?because i`ve got a brain and a nproper education behind me,i realise that it`s wrong to persecute minorities due to misinformation!I realise that Africa has a serious problem with aids!If you send gay people underground then they are not getiing the relevant help to have safe sex!Yes,Gay people are still going to have sex,whether the law permits it,anyone who thinks otherwise is thick beyond belief!

  2. Almighty GOD through the son LORD JESUS CHRIST, I deserve to be the president of Uganda and i put ALL things RIGHT

    Almighty GOD, you created A MAN and A WOMAN…………………………….

  3. You guys love to lament about pressure from the West but to any outside observer it looks more like it’s the religious fanatics in Uganda who put immense pressure on M7 to sign this law and apparently weren’t too “holy” to go ahead and pass it in a completely shady, illegal manner. Ssempa is a legally convicted liar so why is he constantly given a platform? Luckily his intellectual abilities tend to be rather minimal so him challenging anything in front of a court of law actually makes me laugh out loud.

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