Homosexual Rights Divide
Monitor, July 8, 2005
By Emmanuel Mulondo & Richard Mutumba
KAMPALA—CABINET was on Wednesday
sharply divided as the committee of the whole House voted to completely bar
and criminalise homosexuality.
Ministers Tom Butime (state for communication), Kezimbira
Miyingo (state for internal affairs), Tim Lwanga (ethics and integrity),
Namirembe Bitamazire (education), Moses Ali (first deputy premier) voted for
Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu’s amendment to the Bill’s clause 11 which amends
Article 31 for recognition of marriage between a man and woman.
On the other side were ministers Tarsis Kabwegyere (local
governments), Richard Nduhura (state for trade), Adolf Mwesigye (state for
constitutional affairs) and Attorney General Kiddu Makubuya, who voted against
The House was considering the Constitutional Amendment
Bill No. 3, which among other things seeks to provide for lifting of
presidential term limits and centralising of appointment of chief
Katuntu said the Bill’s clause as it stood recognised
marriage between men and women of age but his amendment sought to completely
criminalise same sex relationships. He said the government clause as it was in
the Bill implied same sex relationships could exist without legal recognition.
The Attorney General, Kiddu Makubuya’s attempts to
persuade Katuntu drop the amendment failed as many members who cheered for his
explanation supported the MP. The Minister of State for Finance, Mr Isaac
Musumba, another legal brain in the Cabinet explained that no marriage could
arise without legal backing.
When the matter finally went to vote, 111 members
supported Katuntu’s amendment, 17 voted against it while three abstained.
Some human rights activists have argued that lack of legal recognition for
gays and lesbians in Uganda amounted to a human right abuse and have formed
pressure groups to push for recognition.
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