The "Kill the Gays" Bill is Back

03/24/2011 09:57 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Several weeks ago Sharon Kelly, my colleague at Human Rights First, warned that Uganda's notorious “Kill the Gays” might come back. Well, here it is:

The controversial Anti Homosexuality bill is one of several bills that Members of Parliament on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee are set to debate when the House resumes business next week...

Public hearings are expected to be held on the bill and its author, MP David Bahati, reportedly "welcomed the development."

Uganda is one of 83 countries where homosexuality is criminalized. If the proposed bill were to pass, it would become the eighth country where it is punishable by death.

The parliament willl debate the bill amid widespread homophobia and antigay violence. In October the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone published the names and addresses of presumed homosexuals along with a banner that said, "Hang Them." The country's foremost gay rights activist, David Kato, was among those listed, and after recieving death threats, he and two other activists went to court, winning an injuction prohibiting such published incitement to violence against homosexuals. In January, David Kato was murdered in his home. No one has been brought to justice for the murder.

Some of the roots of Uganda's antigay fervor can be traced to the U.S. In 2009, three radically antigay preachers, billed as experts on homosexuality, delivered a series of talks in Uganda that were attended by thousands of people, including politicians and police officiers. The central message was that gays threatened Ugandans families.

When the bill was introduced in 2009, a chorus of international opposition -- which included President Obama -- forced its backers to shelve it. This time around, again working alongside Ugandan activists, we're hoping to generate even louder opposition. Our goal is to once and for all kill the "Kill the Gays" bill.

If you'd like to get updates on our work this in area, or in others areas, please click here.