The Church of Uganda associates itself with the concerns expressed in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009. However, instead of a completely a new Bill, the Church recommends a Bill that amends the Penal Code Act (Cap.120) addressing loopholes, in particular:
Protecting the vulnerabilities of the boy-child.
Proportionality in sentencing;
And, ensuring that sexual orientation is excluded as a protected human right.
Further, we recommend involvement of all stakeholders in the preparation of such a Bill in order to uphold Uganda’s values as they relate to human sexuality.
Church’s position on homosexuality
The Church of Uganda derives her mandate and authority from the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as the ultimate rule and standard of faith, given by inspiration of God and containing all things necessary from salvation. Her mission is to “fulfil Christ’s mission through holistic teaching, evangelism, discipleship and healing for healthy and godly nations.”
The Church’s position on human sexuality is consistent with its basis of faith and doctrine, and has been stated very clearly over the years as reflected in various documents. From a plain reading of Scripture, from a careful reading of Scripture, and from a critical reading of Scripture, homosexual practice has no place in God’s design of creation, the continuation of the human race through procreation, or His plan of redemption. Even natural law reveals that the very act of sexual intercourse is an experience of embracing the sexual “other”.
The Church of Uganda, therefore, believes that “Homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture” (Resolution 1.10, 1998 Lambeth Conference). At the same time, the Church of Uganda is committed at all levels to offer counselling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning.
The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.
The objective of the Bill
The Church of Uganda appreciates the spirit of the Bill’s objective of protecting the family, especially in light of a growing propaganda to influence younger people to accept homosexuality as a legitimate way of expressing human sexuality.
We particularly appreciate the objectives of the Bill which seek to:
provide for marriage in Uganda as contracted only between a man and woman;
Prohibit and penalise homosexual behaviour and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family;
Prohibit ratification of any international treaties, conventions, protocols, agreements and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with the provisions of the Act;
Prohibit the licensing of organisations which promote homosexuality.
Need for a Bill that amends existing laws
We affirm the need for a Bill in light of the existing loopholes in the current legislation, specifically sections 145-148 of the Penal Code Act (Cap 120), which do not explicitly address the other issues associated with homosexual practice such as procurement, recruitment and dissemination of literature. That notwithstanding, the ideal situation would be one where necessary amendment is made to existing legislation to also enumerate other sexual offences such as lesbianism and bestiality. This would not require a fresh bill on homosexuality per se but rather an amendment to the existing provisions which would also change the title to something like ‘The Penal Code Unnatural Offences Amendment Bill’.
As Parliament considers streamlining the existing legislation, we recommend that the following issues be taken into consideration:
Ensure that the law protects the confidentiality of medical, pastoral and counseling relationships, including those that disclose homosexual practice in accordance with the relevant professional codes of ethics.
Language that strengthens the existing Penal Code to protect the boy child, especially from homosexual exploitation; to prohibit lesbianism, bestiality, and other sexual perversions; and to prohibit procurement of material and promotion of homosexuality as normal or as an alternative lifestyle, be adopted.