Did International Pressure Lead A Uganda Court To Strike Down The Anti-Gay Law?
Uganda's Constitutional Court struck down the nation's anti-gay bill that was signed into law earlier this year, but it's speculated that the law may have been invalidated as a lead up to President Museveni's Tuesday summit with U.S. President Barack Obama.
The U.S. has spoken out strongly against Uganda's "draconian" anti-gay laws and has made moves to restrict financial aid to the nation.
But Museveni denied Uganda had caved in to international pressure. “I was going to Washington with the bill when it was stopped. It has nothing to do with us going to Washington,” he said. And he insisted that the freezing of aid has had no effect on the country. “What has happened to Uganda now? Have you seen any catastrophe? Isn’t the economy growing?”
The Constitutional Court declared the law illegal because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum.
Activists erupted in cheers after the court ruled the law "null and void," but some cautioned that the fight was not over: The state could appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court and legislators might try to reintroduce new anti-gay measures. Also, a colonial-era law that criminalizes sex acts "against the order of nature" still remains in effect in Uganda, allowing for continued arrests.
The invalidated law provided jail terms of up to life for those convicted of engaging in gay sex. It also allowed lengthy jail terms for those convicted of the offenses of "attempted homosexuality" as well as "promotion of homosexuality."
Whatever the reason, it's certainly a step forward to see the most recently adopted law struck down. Hopefully the colonial-era law will follow suit.
What do you think was the real reason behind the decision to strike down Uganda's most recent anti-gay law??