International Human Rights Day Brings Several Developments With Ugandan “Kill The Gays” Bill

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOit_OKcmwI[/youtube]Uganda Protest, London

(LONDON/SAN FRANCISCO) Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the Ugandan Embassy in London to call for a repeal of the country’s anti-homosexuality legislation.

The lively protest included about 50 people.

Event organizer Peter Tatchell, a gay rights activist, was joined by other activists from Uganda , Zimbabwe and South Africa .

“At this particular moment our thoughts, our hearts and our solidarity are with lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender Ugandans who are under attack via the anti-homosexuality bill,” Tachell said during the rally.

The protest in front of the Ugandan Embassy coincided with International Human Rights Day.

It also came several hours after two provisions of the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill were reportedly dropped.

According to Bloomberg News, a maximum punishment of the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” as well as a life sentence for those convicted of “homosexuality” are no longer being considered by members of parliament.

There is no word if other provisions of the controversial bill have been dropped, including punishment for people who fail to report homosexuals to the government or penalties for individuals or organizations convicted of “promoting homosexuality”.

During the demonstration in London , Tatchell said anti-homosexuality laws currently on the books in Uganda are already severe, and are a hold over of British Colonialism.

“For Uganda to uphold and maintain laws that were imposed by colonialism goes against the whole principal of a sovereign independent nation.  And we know that one of the reasons by the British imposed these laws was part of a regime to control and suppress the Ugandan people and to destroy Ugandan culture.”

A couple dozen people held a similar demonstration in San Francisco , and included words of support from Mayor Gavin Newsome.

California Pastor Rick Warren also released a statement on the proposed Ugandan anti-homosexuality law.  Over the last few weeks he has drawn considerable criticism for influence with Ugandan ministries and politics.  Several reports have linked Warren and members of his ministry “ Saddleback Church ” to legislators in Uganda who drafted and supported the anti-homosexuality bill.

In a video statement to Ugandan churches, Pastor Warren denounced the proposed legislation.

“The potential law before your parliament is unjust, it’s extreme and it’s un-Christian toward homosexuals,” Warren said in the statement.

He also took issue with reports that have linked him to the Ugandan bill and its supporters.

“As a pastor, I found that the most effective way to build consensus for social change is usually through direct, quiet diplomacy and behind the scenes dialogue, rather than through the media.  But because I didn’t rush to make a public statement, some erroneously concluded that I supported this terrible bill.”

During an appearance on NBC’s meet the press November 29th, Warren did not speak out against the proposed bill.  Instead the said it was not his role as a US minister to take sides on issues in other countries.

Guy Torrey contributed this story from London.

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