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Correct everything that stands against love

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I was reading Ugandan feminist and lawyer Sylvia Tamale’s powerful response to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill last night.

In a scathing assessment of this legislation, and the damage it would do to Uganda’s legal and social framework, she quotes Martin Luther King Jr., writing “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”

Regarding the bill, a few important points stood out for me.

For example, objectives of the Bill include to protect “the family unit” from “internal and external threats,” and to protect Ugandan children, youth and culture.

Tamale acknowledges the many issues which threaten Ugandan families such as rape, child abuse, domestic violence, sexual predation, poverty, patriarchy, civil unrest and poverty.

According to a 2005 report by Raising Voices and Save the Children, 90% of Ugandan children – the vast majority of whom are children of heterosexual parents living in heterosexual “family units” – experience domestic violence and defilement.

According to a 2006 national study by the Ugandan Law Reform Commission, 66% of people across Uganda reported that domestic violence occurred in their (again, predominantly heterosexual “family unit” type) homes, and that the majority of the perpetrators were “male heads of households.” The Uganda Demographic Health Survey of the same year put this figure at 68%.

As Tamale writes: “I do not see how two people who are in a loving relationship and harming no one pose a threat to the family simply because they happen to be of the same sex.”

She continues “Homosexuals have nothing to do with the hundreds of thousands of families that sleep without a meal or the thousands of children who die unnecessarily every day from preventable or treatable diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, measles, pneumonia, etc. Homosexuals are not the ones responsible for the lack of drugs and supplies at primary health care centres.

Not only does the bill not achieve the stated purpose of protecting Ugandan families and their children, it also “requires Uganda to opt out of any international treaty that [it has] previously ratified that goes against the spirit of the bill.” This would require Uganda to violate – or change – its Constitution, which obligates Uganda to honour all international treaties it ratified before the Constitution was passed in 2005.

Read more of Tamale’s thoughts on the historic, social and legal ramifications of this bill here.

One comment to “Correct everything that stands against love”

  1. Comment by Kubatana.net speaks out from Zimbabwe » Blog Archive » Fear of difference:

    [...] connect to two excellent recent Kubatana blogs­the first by Amanda Atwood concerning Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill and the second by Catherine Makoni concerning the troublesome PSI [...]