Ugandan court overturns anti-gay law

Reuters: Jessica Rinaldi
Reuters: Jessica Rinaldi

Earlier this year, people across the world were horrified when Uganda passed an anti-gay bill that outlawed homosexuality in its borders, making sex acts between gay people punishable by up to life in prison. Now, after months of controversy, a Ugandan court invalidated the bill, leaving many activists breathing a sigh of relief.

According to the Huffington Post, the Constitutional Court deemed the law illegal, not because of its violent impact of Uganda’s LGBT community, but because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum.


A panel of five judges on the East African country’s Constitutional Court said the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, acted illegally when she allowed a vote on the bill in December despite at least three objections, including one from Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, that proper quorum was needed.

The controversial bill was first introduced in 2010 and even included a provision for the death penalty. However, that provision was removed from the current bill due to international condemnation. It also instituted a seven-year sentence for a person who “conducts a marriage ceremony” for same-sex couples.


Although it’s a major win for the nation’s LGBT community, activists, however, cautioned that the legal battle isn’t over yet. The state could appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court and lawmakers could introduce new anti-gay legislation if they choose.

Also, a colonial-era law that criminalizes sex acts “against the order of nature” still remains in effect in Uganda, allowing for continued arrests and mob attacks.

“The ideal situation would have been to deal with the other issues of the law, to sort out this thing once and for all,” said attorney Nicholas Opiyo, who opposes the law.

Well, we hope that Ugandan activists and lawmakers, as well as the international political community, continues to fight against such anti-gay bills across the globe to prevent anymore legally-aided and deadly attacks against LGBT people. – nicholas robinson

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