Last edited: November 07, 2003

Uganda Gays To Gov’t: Give Us Civil Rights Or We Form Our Own Party, October 6, 2003

By Newscenter Staff

KampalaUgandan gays tired of decades of anti-gay policies have issued a direct challenge to president Yoweri Museveni, demanding civil rights or they will form their own political party.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Uganda, Gala, made the threat in a letter sent October 4, to the minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and copied to the Speaker of Parliament, the Uganda Human Rights Commission and political parties and organizations.

“We believe criminalizing us because of our nature is unfair [and we] will not support any political organization which doesn’t endorse our rights,” says the letter, signed by the chairman of Gala Uganda, S.W.I. Lule.

“If you fail to honor our request, we will be forced to form our political party to represent our interests,” the letter warned.

Next to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Museveni runs the most repressive anti-gay regime in Africa. Homosexuality remains illegal in Uganda. Gays are routinely arrested on the streets of Kampala, the capital, and often beaten and tortured while in prison.

Gala wants constitutional protections for gays and lesbians, homosexuality decriminalized, and laws forbidding same-sex couples from marrying overturned.

The country is a former British colony and the Anglican church has considerable political power in the country.

The Primate of Uganda is one of the leaders of a threatened schism in the faith over the election of a gay bishop in the United States. Recently the church cut links with the Episcopal diocese of New Hampshire. It also severed relations with the diocese of New Westminster in British Columbia, Canada over same-sex couple blessings.

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