Friday, May 1, 2009

Legal Issues, Parliament Takes a Stand

Parliament Takes a Stand Against Homosexuality

A Correspondent

30th April 2009 started off as an ordinary day but ended on a high note. I got back home from town at lunchtime, hot and bothered. While I took a rest I got a telephone call to say the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was going to be introduced in Parliament. So I put my shoes back on and went. Mr Hashaka, MP (NRM) was going to seek Parliaments permission to move the Bill.

Two years or so ago another MP tried to move a Bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against anyone on the basis of his/her sexual orientation. Orientation, is not the same as gender. Gender means male or female. Sexual orientation, according to some, means whether one, regardless of gender, is attracted to males or females or both. Whatever the case, they argue, it is their right. And because it is the right of a man to marry another man and a woman a woman, the argument continues, people who have made such a choice must not be discriminated against for jobs, or in the workplace etc. It is called ‘inclusiveness’, or ‘multi-culturism’. Many churches in the USA are ‘inclusive’ and vote members of such unions on to their councils (unlike the Catholic church which encourages sacramental marriages by limiting the offices those in unsacramental) marriages can hold. One Pentecostal church now has a majority Executive of homosexual people and promotes homosexuality. Catechism 2358 states that homosexuality is a disorder and that many who have it find it a trial, but that they are entitled to pastoral care like any other church member. The American Council of Bishops in 2006 added, having this disorder does not diminish the worth of the individual. In other words the Church discourages homosexual acts while welcoming those who are erotically attracted to members of their own gender.

Last month (April 2009, the State of North Dakota had to debate a similar Bill. The Senate rejected it. According to Robin Weisz (Republican), the law would ban situations such as employers voicing their opinions on same-sex relationships, as this could offend lesbian and gay staff. He explained, “If this bill passes, I can still preach about [opposition to] divorce and living together, but I would no longer be able to have an opinion in my own place of business on whether homosexuality was a proper or improper lifestyle,....Their rights have now superseded my rights.”.

It is Uganda’s turn to make the choice. We arrived at Parliament bang on 3.30 when the reading was supposed to begin. They were still debating rural electrification in West Nile. Then they introduced the Bill banning Female Genital Mutilation. In the meantime I said the chaplet of Divine Mercy, asking Our Lord to grant our elected leaders the wisdom to lead and especially to discuss these two Bills. Three hours later it was our turn.

Before Hashaka, MP could proceed, Ogenga Latigo (FDC), Leader of the Opposition wanted to hear Government’s statement on Migingo Island. The Deputy Speaker, R. Kadaga ruled it was time to listen to Civil Society (that is us) before returning to government business. She pointed out some of its promoters had been waiting since 2pm. Then another MP, Erias Lukwago said it was not necessary to have the Bill as homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda and they only needed o amend the penal code. This time Latigo rose to defend the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. He said he had looked at the draft being circulated and this new Bill was aimed at i. outlawing promotion of homosexuality as has been reported in schools and ii. providing psycho-social care for the victims of sodomy. Alice Alaso MP (FDC) rose and gave a spirited defence of the Bill as did Isaac Musumba from the Government Front Bench. I think it was Hon. Nyakaana (we were not allowed to take notebooks in) who revealed the existence of a working paper called ‘Overhauling Straight America’ [insert any country] in which the authors describe the tactics to be used to promote ‘gay’ culture. He explained this is commonly known as ‘The Gay Agenda.’ Lukwago then withdrew his objection.

Finally, when Mr David Hashaka began to speak, he first acknowledged those who were instrumental in moving the Bill. He recognised the presence of Pastor Martin Ssempa, Stephen Langa and Bishop Oyet in the Stranger’s Gallery. He then acknowledged the presence of George Oundo who recently revealed tactics used by ‘gay’ activists to seduce school children and that the funds to do so came from abroad. (George’s revelations are ugly but then sin is ugly). Like Gideon of old, George the victim had his moment. God will love, save and use anybody who allows Him. Also present were the young boy Julius whose assault at the hands of a Youth Councillor in Entebbe was reported on Easter Sunday. His mother who found the councillor in the act was also there. Since making their relations, George, Julius and his mother have all been threatened by gay actvists. An MP rose on a point of information and recognised the contribution of Archbishop Luke Orombi in fighting he promotion of homosexuality world-wide and even breaking away from the branch of his Church that had adopted an ‘inclusiveness’ stance by ordaining a bishop who co-habits with a man.

The Bill was introduced and seconded by a number of speakers. As with the anti-female circumcision bill, the entire House was anxious to contribute to the debate. One MP mentioned the ‘Teenagers Toolkit’ published and distributed by UNICEF, which presents homosexuality as acceptable behaviour. Another MP revealed that a paper was presented at a Commonwealth Conference discussing homosexuality. It urged the Commonwealth to harmonise its laws relating to homosexuality. This of course means countries that do not yet allow it should consider decriminalising homosexuality, and enabling same sex ‘marriages’. He may have been referring to the Commonwealth Law Conference, 5-9 April (the papers are not available on the internet). The House was informed those countries that do not comply may find their foreign aid affected There was uproar as everyone said we are not going to be compromised for aid.

In the end, support for the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was unanimous. Hashaka again thanked those who had contributed to fighting the vice and mentioned religious denominations including Roman Catholic, Anglican and others. I do not now how often the Parliament (NRM, FDC, UPC and Independent MPs) votes as a bloc in support of an issue but we witnessed it twice that day. I told you it was a special day.

We congregated in the twilight outside and had a prayer led by Oyet. I remember him thanking God that Uganda would not be destroyed now that its leaders were in obedience to Him on this issue. There we were, Catholic and Pentecostal of various stripes and others, standing hand in hand in prayer! What a moment of unity.

The final blessing was when Pastor Martin Ssempa said that since the death of the Uganda Martyrs and the spilling of their blood on this soil, Uganda has been anointed for leadership in this area. Amen to that.

You are encouraged to lobby your members of Parliament (some may have been absent) to support the bill when it is read in he next few weeks.