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Emma Ruby-Sachs

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Uganda's Attack on Gays -- Down to the Wire

Posted: 05/11/11 01:21 PM ET

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Frank Mugisha, a brave gay rights advocate in Uganda

It's been a tense 48 hours -- just days ago it looked like the Ugandan Parliament was going to use mounting violence in the streets over a potentially rigged election to force a monstrous anti-gay bill through Parliament.

Bad enough that the bill imprisons people for "homosexual conduct." It also imposes prison sentences of 7 years on anyone who "aids or abets" homosexuals. Even the parent or sibling of a suspected LGBT person can be imprisoned for waiting longer than 24 hours to turn their loved one in.

Worst of all, "repeat offenders" are sentenced to death.

Frank Mugisha, an amazing gay rights activist in Uganda, is at Parliament right now and, while he tells me that the bill has been pulled off the agenda for today, Parliament has decided to hold an emergency session and bring this bill to a vote on Friday.

This bill is our problem.

It was presented for the first time in 2009, just weeks after Rick Warren, members of Saddleback church, the Family and Exodus International held a conference in Uganda that argued against homosexuality.

The pastor behind the bill, Pastor Ssempe, has visited the U.S. many times and has close ties to many religious extremists in the U.S.

Finally, the U.S. is the single largest aid donor to Uganda -- essential to the survival of President Museveni's 25 year rule over the country.

Last time this bill was tabled in Ugandan Parliament, President Obama spoke out against it. This time, Representative Barney Frank has bravely stood up and condemned this attack on LGBT Ugandans.

We can join this movement. Sign the petition at www.avaaz.org

Then call your representative, and the White House. There are only a few days between certain death and victory for Frank and thousands of out gay Ugandans like him.


 

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