THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Death Penalty as Punishment for Being Gay - Apparently Uganda Doesn't Know it's 2009

In television and film they call it jumping the shark. In real life we generally call it ridiculous. In this case the only word is appalling. On second thought, disgusting fits too.

Uganda is poised to pass a law criminalizing and severely punishing people for something they have no control over - being gay. The new class of crime is being labeled "aggravated homosexuality."

As far as I'm concerned, they should just call it "Hitler's Back" or "Return the Holocaust." The bill sets GLBT rights so far back as to seem completely unreal - only it is real, deathly real to the GLBT community in Uganda.

Under the bill, the death penalty would be punishment for homosexual contact with a minor or a disabled individual; transmitting HIV to another person; and/or having repeated sexual encounters with members of the same gender.

And don't think for a second that the heterosexual community is off the hook since knowing someone who is involved in a GLBT relationship and not turning them in would be actionable as well. Turning neighbor on neighbor? What is this, the Dark Ages?

And oh yeah, asking someone of the same sex out on a date ... that would be illegal too. Sexually propositioning a person of the same gender would also be a criminal offense. They will kill people for suggesting a night on the town or under the sheets.

It's over the edge. Way over. So much so that the Anglican Church and even some American evangelicals have denounced it according to a December 3rd Spero News piece. U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the Ugandan President directly that the legislation was of concern. But neither the President nor anyone else in the Ugandan government seems to care.

Well, I'll tell you what I don't care about. I don't care that the Ugandan culture is not up to speed. I don't care that they are behind the times. I don't care that they are clueless enough to think sexuality is something you can mandate. Homosexuality is biological. It's not a choice. It's not a crime. It's as natural as hair color or eye color.

Making backward laws does not move a country forward.

Mr. President, your people are starving. They are dying of HIV. They are in crisis and many of us are sending our hard earned dollars over to help. But you don't even want to help yourself. You want to mandate love. Well, I can tell you this, I won't be sponsoring a child in Uganda anymore. I have been sending her money every month for years. But I can send it elsewhere. Somewhere where there is a respect for human life - all human life.

And don't think for a minute that this won't go unnoticed on the international scene. Sweden provides $50 million in support to Uganda and Ugandans can likely kiss that good-bye if this law passes. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spoken out. The Council for Global Equality's chairman, Mark Bromley, has spoken out. And you can bet that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Now, the Christian right, not surprisingly, won't fight against it. But there is one group who seems to be ignoring the issue thus far - the American media. Where's the outrage? Where's the humanity? You can be against gay marriage even and still see how obscene this measure is. Write the editor of your city's paper. Demand the facts about this. Get informed and stay that way. The American media is a powerful machine. Let's put it to good use for a change. And, to my mind, there is no better cause than human rights.

First they take away GLBT rights in one country and then another and then another. How long before the wolf is at our American door? Once the opening is cleared, the path is too easily made.

Uganda is already an ugly place for members of the GLBT community, filled with violence and murder and unlawful persecution and prosecution. Backwards religious views and unseemly politics have seen to that. But this is institutionalized hate. This is Nazi Germany all over again. This is unacceptable.

I have been on the verge of vomiting since I first heard about this. Why doesn't President Museveni spend more time helping his people and less time hurting them? If there is the time and resources to pass such a bill, doesn't that mean there is time and resources that could be spent to provide clean water, safe housing, and proper schools? How can someone suggest they respect human life and pass a law that so summarily dismisses the worth of an entire community of people?

I am so angry I could spit. It is the 21st century. It's time to get with it. There is nothing wrong with being gay. People are born gay. You don't have to like it. You don't have to be gay yourself. Heck, you don't even have to have gay friends if you don't want. But you cannot deny the natural state of human beings. It would be like suggesting being left handed or near-sighted or short is cause for discrimination and persecution. Let's move on, folks.

The bottom line is this. You're fixing to cross the line Uganda. And this is one shark that cannot be unjumped.