The Speaker of Parliament has directed the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to present the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2011 on the floor of Parliament.
The committee chairperson, Mr Stephen Tashobya, passed on Ms Rebecca Kadaga’s directive to committee members yesterday as he summoned them to attend next week’s session in person “to have the Bill concluded”.
In her November 13 letter, the Speaker advised Mr Tashobya to be mindful of what she said was the high demand by the public to address homosexuality.
“I write to reiterate my earlier instruction to your committee to expeditiously handle the review of the report on the Bill. As you are aware, there is high demand by the population to address the escalating problem of promoting and recruiting minors into homosexuality,” the letter reads in part.
“This is therefore to inform you that I shall place the Bill on the Order Paper immediately after conclusion of the Oil Bills,” she wrote.
Parliament is concluding consideration of the Petroleum (Exploration, Production and Development) Bill as the House breaks off for Christmas recess on December 15, which suggests that after the Bill is hopefully completed by next Tuesday, MPs can expect to debate and probably pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Mr Tashobya said his committee had “a working document [ready] because we had a lot of responses during the public hearings.” The Bill was presented as a Private Members’ Bill by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati in the 8th Parliament and has since become a subject of international discussion, with a number of Western countries threatening to cut aid to Uganda if it is passed.
Ms Kadaga’s directive comes days after she hosted scores of anti-gay activists at Parliament. The activists said their visit was intended to officially welcome her from Canada where she had issued a stinging retort to Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird during the 127th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly.
Top religious leaders from across the country have during previous occasions asked Parliament to speed up the enactment of the anti-gay Bill so as to prevent what they called “an attack on the Bible and the institution of marriage”.