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Uganda’s Constitutional Court Rejects Bid to Nullify Anti-Homosexuality Laws

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Ugandans responded with varied opinions as the Constitutional Court of the country upheld a law allowing the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” Despite international criticism and petitions, the court in Kampala dismissed requests to revoke the law.

President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill into law last May. It finds support among many in Uganda who view homosexuality as foreign behavior rather than a sexual orientation.

Constitutional Court judges justified their decision, citing the law’s legal passage by parliament and its alignment with the constitution. Previously, Uganda already criminalized homosexuality under colonial-era laws, punishable by life imprisonment.

The law in question specifies “aggravated homosexuality” involving minors, vulnerable individuals, or HIV-positive individuals. Attempted acts carry sentences of up to 14 years, with lesser penalties for attempts.

However, the court emphasized that members of the LGBTQI community should not face discrimination in accessing healthcare, particularly in the context of Uganda’s history with HIV/AIDS.

While some Ugandans expressed mixed feelings in Kampala, LGBTQI individuals voiced concern over exacerbating their already dire circumstances.

Certain petitioners’ lawyers announced plans to appeal to the Supreme Court, aiming to overturn the law. Across Africa, homosexuality remains illegal in over 30 countries.