Last edited: February 01, 2005

U.K. Denies Visa to Gay Ugandan Man U.K., February 1, 2005

By Ben Townley

SUMMARY: A gay Christian man from Uganda who was expected to speak at an Anglican conference in Britain may have to cancel because U.K. immigration officials refused him a visa.

A gay Christian man from Uganda who was expected to speak at an Anglican conference in Britain may have to cancel his appearance because U.K. immigration officials refused him a visa to enter the country.

According to The Guardian, Chris Stentaza was refused entry because Ugandan officials have an arrest warrant for him based on his sexuality. After facing continuous obstacles in his bid to get a visa for the meeting, which was scheduled for today, Stentaza was rejected last month by the British high commission in Kampala.

Stentaza had been asked to visit the U.K. in order to discuss the issue of sexual diversity within developing countries, according to the newspaper. His thoughts would then be passed on to a meeting of Anglican leaders in Northern Ireland later this month.

A former head teacher in a religious school, Stentaza was sacked after speaking to gay Christians at a Manchester conference in 2003. The conference was called in light of the threat of schism throughout the Anglican Communion, after Gene Robinson was appointed a bishop in the United States.

Homosexuality is a crime in Uganda and is punishable by life imprisonment.

“This is appalling because it compromises the church’s ability to seek responses to its policy apart from those in the five or six provinces of the Anglican Communion where homosexuality is not a crime,” the Rev. Colin Coward of Changing Attitudes, a pro-gay group in the Church of England, told the newspaper.

“The British government is failing to recognize that there are people applying for visas who need support and encouragement to enable them to take part in the church’s consultation processes,” Coward said. “It was important for Chris’s voice to be heard.”

 This month’s Northern Ireland meeting will see primates from across the 70-million-member Anglican Communion coming together to discuss a response to last year’s Windsor Report. The study looked into sexual diversity within the Anglicanism, and was called in a bid to halt the split throughout its members. Already, however, the split remains ever present, with the United States refusing to apologize for choosing Robinson.

Additionally, traditional members of the communion are threatening to form their own church if the pro-gay members are not punished accordingly.

[Home] [World] [Uganda]