Anti-gay advisers to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni tampered with a report that Ugandan scientists prepared for him as he deliberated about whether to sign the harsh Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Museveni had asked for a panel of experts to advise him on whether homosexuality is fixed at birth or is learned behavior that can be chosen.
“The Ugandan ministerial task team asked by the president to advise him on homosexuality falsified the information contained in the report given by medical and psychological experts, twisting it to show that homosexuality should indeed be further criminalised,” the Mail & Guardian of South Africa reported.
Museveni signed the bill Feb. 24, enacting a law that provides for life imprisonment for anyone who touches someone with the intent of engaging in homosexual activity, as well as five to seven years in prison for anyone convicted of “promoting homosexuality” or who “in any way abets homosexuality and related practices.” (See details of the law here.)
The Mail & Guardian reported on Feb. 22:
The [local medical and psychological] experts – including academics from Marekere University and officials in the Ugandan ministry of health – said that, in their view and in terms of the best current medical knowledge, “homosexuality has no clear-cut cause”, though they adduce some limited genetic evidence, and that “several factors are involved which differ from individual to individual. It is not a disease that has a treatment.”
The Scientist Consensus Statement concludes that homosexuality is not a disease or an “abnormality”, but that it “can be influenced by environmental factors” such as “culture, religion, information, permissiveness”. Homosexual behaviour, the statement says, “needs regulation like any other human behaviour, especially to protect the vulnerable”, and concludes: “There is need for studies to address sexualities in the African context.”
By contrast, in the report to the president in the name of the caucus of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), this is glossed as: “Homosexuality is not a disease but merely an abnormal behaviour which may be learned through experiences in life.” It quotes the experts saying that the “practice should be regulated”, following that with the statement: “Presidential Advisor on Science Dr Richard Tushemereirwe stated that homosexuality has serious Public Health consequences and should therefore not be tolerated.”
Tushemereirwe was not part of the 10-member scientists’ panel.
A separate letter to Museveni from more than 200 researchers and mental health professionals from around the world stated on Feb. 3: “For the vast majority of people, homosexual and heterosexual, sexual attractions emerge spontaneously without any prior sexual experience, exposure or recruitment. Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice.”
- Uganda MPs falsified gay report (Mail & Guardian)
- Ugandan spokespeople: President will sign anti-gay bill (Feb. 14, 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Uganda’s anti-gay law will make AIDS harder to fight (Feb. 14, 2013, 76crimes.com)
- Uganda parliament passes former ‘Kill the Gays’ bill (December 2013, 76crimes.com)
- Ugandan anti-gay bill — a self-contradictory mess (January 2014, 76crimes.com)
- Ugandan activists’ advice on threats to cut aid (76crimes.com)
- Uganda’s gays fear mounting violence (edition.cnn.com)
- Activist: Most Ugandans support anti-gay bill but the government is worried about losing aid (pinknews.co.uk)
- Dispute over LGBTI clinics in Uganda (76crimes.com)
- Sexual Minorities Fight for Health Services In Uganda (ipsnews.net)
- Ugandan LGBT Activists: ‘We Have to Stay and Fight’ (advocate.com)
- US condemns Uganda’s anti-homosexuality Bill (nation.co.ke)