Monday, January 3, 2011

Slight Progress in the Ugandan Anti-Gay Legislation Fight?

For months we've been following the proposed legislation in Uganda that would make homosexuality punishable by the death penalty. Most recently, a Ugandan magazine, Rolling Stone, published the names, photos, and addresses of more than 20 gay Ugandans and gay rights activists.

After a year of bad news and setbacks regarding this bill, some progress was made today as a Ugandan judge ruled that the media cannot out people in Uganda. The judge also issued a permanent injunction against Rolling Stone, and the magazine was ordered to pay the legal fees of the defendants, campaigners from a gay rights group called Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).

SMUG executive director Frank Mugisha hailed the ruling in a brief telephone interview with The Advocate.

“The view of the organization is that at least we are happy that the Ugandan judiciary is independent and they have expressed that all people are entitled to privacy regardless of their sexual orientation,” he said. “This is a move to show the Ugandan government that indeed they should decriminalize homosexuality.”

Mugisha, who was not a party to the suit but helped the petitioners with their case, said the ruling could boost efforts to combat the bill pending in parliament that would impose the death penalty on gay people in certain instances.

“It will be very helpful because these people look at things that are related within the bill and within the media,” he said. “The media has also played a very big role in this.”

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