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Uganda: President Museveni Signs Anti Gay Bill

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Uganda - Google Maps

from Google Maps

Ending weeks of will he or won’t he speculation, President Museveni signed the harsh anti gay bill into law.

Think Progress reports:

Last week, it seemed like Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was delaying taking action on the infamous anti-homosexuality bill, suggesting he was interested in hearing from more U.S. scientists about the nature of homosexuality. On Monday, though, he signed the bill into law. The law, often referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill because previous versions of it included the death penalty, allows for a lifetime jail sentence for people found guilty of being gay.

Some more recent versions of the bill have still included reference to a different law that did allow for the death penalty. First-time offenders can be punished with 14 years in jail. Those who promote LGBT issues would also be in violation of the law, as would anybody who officiates a same-sex marriage. Museveni explained that he signed the bill because he was concerned that gay people were “recruiting normal people” into homosexuality, using them as prostitutes, and exhibiting themselves.

In its lawsuit against Scott Lively, the Center for Constitutional Rights calls him directly responsible for the new law.

Joe.My.God reports:

In addition to putting the lives of LGBTI Ugandans at serious risk, in signing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, President Museveni has criminalized the existence and work of our client, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), and other advocacy organizations in violation of the Ugandan constitution and international law. The Center for Constitutional Rights holds right-wing U.S. evangelical Scott Lively directly responsible: he has been working in Uganda since 2002 to outlaw the speech and assembly of LGBTI people and effectively silence and erase the community from political life.

Desmond Tutu spoke out against the law. Pink News reports:

Archbishop Tutu said that the was “very disheartened” that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is intending to sign a bill into law that could see gay people facing lifetime prison sentence. “In South Africa, Apartheid police used to rush into bedrooms where whites were suspected of making love to blacks,” Archbishop Tutu said in a statement. “It was demeaning to those whose ‘crime’ was to love each other, it was demeaning to the policemen ? and it was a blot on our entire society.”

“The history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love… There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral justification. Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, among others, attest to these facts.”

It’s time to shun Uganda and Nigeria in the international community. No more aid for countries that treat their LGBT citizens as criminals.

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Shocking revelation at briefing as the U.S.A. furthers the persecution LGBT Asylum seekers

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Shocking revelation at briefing as we in the U.S.A. further the persecution LGBT Asylum seekers through systematic recriminalization of those seeking to escape unjust criminalization!

By Melanie Nathan, January 08, 2013.

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 10.49.30 PM

Briefing on Capitol Hill

Seventy Six countries criminalize homosexuality. Most recently we have focused on, amongst others, Russia, India, Uganda, Gambia, Cameroon, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, Belize and Nigerian. We are not talking about equality and LGBTI rights here, but rather about a basic right to live according to one’s sexuality, in peace and privacy, with community support for those facing confusion and asking questions when they come out. These 76 countries not only deny this basic human right, but also, through criminalization, participate in the resulting trauma which includes rejection and often physical harm.

In the U.S.A., although we fail our own LGBTI with the lack of full equality, at least we do not criminalize homosexuality and though our President and State Department have condemned those who do criminalize homosexuality, we still fail potential LGBT asylees who seek our shores for refuge.

We fail them at the outset, when they need special visas to escape their unjust criminalization to come to the U.S.A. Those special considerations and much needed remedies for entry simply do not exist and no one is advocating for change, except at PCI Justice.

And we in the United States fail them further, once they reach our shores, because we do not do much more than re-criminalize the asylum seekers, the already unjustly persecuted. Indeed we re-criminalize those who have been persecuted through unjust criminalizing laws back in their home countries.

Today a briefing was held on Capitol Hill, by LGBT-FAN, the Faith Network, co-sponsored by PCI-Justice and other groups.* One of the speakers at the event included Rochelle Fortier Nwadibia, the Legal Director of PCI-Justice, (Private Courts International.) The focus of Nwadibia’s talk was the continued criminalization of LGBT asylees in the United States. And the message screams for human compassion to include the imperative call for a dramatic change in how we treat LGBT asylum seekers.

Nwadibia, a prominent immigration and international human rights attorney, renowned for litigating Mohamed v. Gonzales re: Female Genital Mutilation, reported today at the briefing as follows:

Good afternoon,

Thank you to each and everyone of you for attending this important briefing.

Our focus today on LGBT asylum highlights the increased criminalization of asylum seekers within our immigration system, and explains why we must focus on providing a true safe harbor for LGBT asylum seekers.

As Americans, we are reminded of the historical journey of many that have sought refuge in the United States for generations. We are all aware that it is THIS country that has served as the beacon of hope for many fleeing persecution abroad. Unfortunately, today our arms are not open wide for the modern day asylum seeker. Instead, we find the creeping criminalization of asylum seekers through the BED MANDATE and DETENTION, and NOT the safe harbor that we would expect.

In this process today, we detain them, subject them to criminal prosecution and imprisonment, and we force many of them to begin their “fresh start” in the United States with a criminal conviction.

The detention of asylum seekers results from the Congressional bed mandate is increasingly the door through which many asylum seekers must enter before having access to our asylum process.

In reality, we are the ones contributing to the criminalization of LGBT asylum seekers by offering a jail bed as the first place for them to lay their head.

These asylum seekers arrive at our doorstep traumatized by the fear of persecution perpetuated by family, friends, and members of their own community.

They are completely alone.

They are Fleeing family shame, societal rejection, and socially sanctioned:
* physical assault
* forced marriage
* rape
* fear of arrest and prosecution according to laws criminalizing LGBT identity, and
* death

They are completely alone.

As an attorney, I have watched asylum seekers enter court rooms shackled to convicted criminals, while escorted from place to place by law enforcement. They are housed in isolated facilities with convicted criminals where attorneys that wish to represent them have difficulty obtaining access and law enforcement authorities seldom return calls to attorneys and the criminalization process moves forward.

These practices create structural barriers to legal access and deny immediate protection of these asylum seekers.

I have observed a judge, sitting on the bench, who did not even raise his head and look at the detainees in front of him, neither as a group, or when calling their names individually. Instead he chose to focus on reading from documents throughout the entire hearing, and in the process thereby denying their dignity and never acknowledging their humanity.

What we are witnessing is a situation where the asylum seeker finds that the experience in the United States may not be too different from the criminalization that they are fleeing.

We must do better. We must provide the social supports that facilitate a pathway to freedom.

It is for these reasons, that the efforts championed by LGBT-FAN member organizations aimed at supporting LGBT asylum seekers once they land on our soil is crucial and can not be understated.

It is important the we open not only our doors, but our hearts and minds and create a safety net for asylum seekers that enable them to thrive independently in the United States.

I am suggesting that In order to accomplish this, we:
* must remove the one year rule to allow asylum seekers the time to adjust to freedom, in order to prepare and properly advance their claims,
* must provide for the immediate availability of employment authorization so that they can support themselves while seeking this relief,
* must remove the bed mandate that leads to the detention and halt the criminalization of asylum seekers by removing them from the detention process, and

By doing so, we will restore the dignity to and respect the humanity LGBT asylum seekers as they follow their quest for a life of freedom.

Melanie Nathan, nathan@privatecourts.com
#LGBTasylHELP #LGBTASYLUM @rafinlaw @pcijustice @melanienathan1

CALL TO ACTION
IF you care and this article has impacted you, shocked you, concerned you… please sign the LGBT-FAN petition at

http://www.change.org/petitions/honor-the-human-rights-of-lgbt-asylum-seekers-in-the-u-s

*Co-Sponsors: Center Global, a program of the DC Center for the LGBT Community, Daylight Consulting Group, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Integrity USA, LGBT Asylum Support Task Force, Metropolitan Community Churches, Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation, PCI Justice, St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns, Unitarian Universalist Association United Nations Office, and Unitarian Universalist Association

 

Belarus: Country to Consider Criminalizing Homosexuality

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Belarus - Google Maps

from Google Maps

After Russia’s Duma passed an anti gay law, Europe’s Belarus is also heading down the anti-gay path with a proposed law to make gays and lesbians criminals. Gay Star News reports:

According to reports circulating in Belarus’s media, plans are afoot in the country’s parliament to pass a law that would recriminalize gay sex. The bill stipulates that offenders will be imprisoned for up to 10 years and have all their property confiscated. Lawmakers are planning to vote to amend the Criminal Code of Belarus as early as this autumn session, reported the Belarusian Partisan portal, citing a ‘source’ in Belarus’s parliament.

Absolutely sickening. Being gay has been legal in Belarus since 1994, but if the bigots get their way, gays and lesbians will be jailed just for being born that way.

Nigeria: House Votes to Ban Marriage Equality

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Nigeria MapAfrica continues to lead in regressive legislation on gays and gay marriage. From AllAfrica:

Nigeria’s House of Representatives has approved a bill that would outlaw same-sex marriage. The bill passed Thursday sets prison terms of up to 14 years for anyone who enters into a gay union. It also outlaws gay organizations and the “public show of a same-sex amorous relationship.”

Shades of the South and interracial marriage up until the 1960’s… get married, go to jail.

Nigeria: Parliament May Approve Anti Gay Law Soon

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

A bill to further criminalise same-sex relationships in Nigeria has reportedly passed through a second reading in the country’s House of Representatives.

According to Nigeria’s Punch newspaper, the proposed legislation, which has already been endorsed by the parliament’s Senate, now awaits the approval of the Committee of the Whole House.

Same-sex relations are already illegal in Nigeria and the new law would mean gay couples entering into either marriage or cohabitation would face jail terms of up to 14 years.

Authored By Scott Roberts – See the Full Story at Pink News

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Liberia: Christians Gathering Signatures to Push President to Sign Anti Gay Law

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Despite stiff international lobby to discourage the passage of a section of Liberia’s Domestic Relations Law making same-sex marriage a felonious act in the country, Liberian Christians are leaving no stone unturned to make Government stay the course and quickly pass the bill which articulates the matter but has been dusting in House Committee room since the Senate tendered it for concurrence.

When passed by the Legislature, the burden would be on the laps of President Sirleaf currently sandwiched between upholding her human rights credential with the larger international community on the one hand and demonstrating adherence to her religious values and African traditions on the other. But before she would ever decide, the President’s Christian kin and kith are doing all within their powers to hold her to her moral roots–soliciting thousands of signatures from around the country perhaps to say that she got no excuse for not objecting to same-sex marriage. The Analyst reports.

The Liberian Christian community, or a section thereof, has launched what it calls signature exercise over the weekend in the Point 4 Community in Monrovia. The group heading the exercise calls itself the Anti Gay Rights Campaign team.

See the Full Story at All Africa

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Montana, USA: GOP Drops Effort to Keep Homosexuality Illegal

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Montana GOP Drops Effort to Keep Homosexuality IllegalThe Montana Republican Party has long advocated for keeping homosexual acts illegal, despite decisions by the Montana Supreme Court (1997s Gryczan v. State) and the U.S. Supreme Court (2003s Lawrence v. Texas) ruling the state’s anti-sodomy law is unconstitutional.

At this weekend’s convention, the party dropped its long-held support for sodomy laws from its platform, though it maintained its opposition to marriage equality.

Full Story from Think Progress

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Zimbabwe: New Constitution Would Criminalize Homosexuality, Ban Marriage Equality

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

The final draft constitution, earmarked to replace the Lancaster House Constitution, will criminalise homosexuality and ban same-sex marriages according to the views of the majority of Zimbabweans, it has emerged.

In an interview, Constitution Select Committee (Copac) co-chair Mr Edward Mkhosi (MDC) said Zimbabwe had unequivocally affirmed that homosexuality should be outlawed.

“During the outreach programme, everyone said ‘no’ to gays and lesbians and, as the drafters, we heed what people say,” he said. “Contrary to media reports that the homosexuality issue was causing infighting, the people were clear; we did not waste time on it.”

Full Story from Zimeye.org

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NOM Suggests It Supports ReCriminalization of Gay Sex

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has suggested it favors the re-criminalization of gay sex.

The nation’s most vociferous opponent of gay marriage has previously said it is fighting to keep marriage between a man and a woman but harbors no animus towards gay men and lesbians, and has gone so far as to suggest that gay rights activists are intolerant.

In fact, the group’s anti-gay marriage pledge – signed by Republican presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann – specifically calls on candidates to investigate the “harassment of traditional marriage supporters.”

Full Story from On Top Magazine

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KS: Lawmakers Keep Criminalization of Gays on the Books

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

State Representatives Jan Pauls (D, Hutchinson), and Lance Kinzer (R, Olathe) said yesterday that being gay or lesbian should remain a crime in Kansas. Pauls made, with Kinzer’s support, the successful motion in the Kansas Legislature’s Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee to keep the criminalization of gay and lesbian relationships on the books. Their action removed key language from HB2321, proposed by the Kansas Judicial Council, which would have resolved inconsistencies in Kansas criminal code, as well as remove unconstitutional laws.

“Jan Pauls was trusted to be a judge before becoming a state representative, and should know better than to support unconstitutional laws, breaking her oath to defend the Constitution,” said Jon Powell, Chair of the Hutchinson Area chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition. “We are fed up with her obvious support of harassment of gays and lesbians. We will not be bullied.”

Although one remains on Kansas’ books, all state laws criminalizing gay and lesbian relationships were struck down by the United States Supreme Court in 2003.

Full Story from Press Release Central

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