Uganda anti-gay law declared 'null and void' by constitutional court

Uganda anti-gay law declared 'null and void' by constitutional court | World news |

A panel of five judges ruled on Friday that the speaker of parliament acted illegally when she allowed a vote on the measure despite at least three objections that not enough MPs were in attendance.
"The speaker was obliged to ensure that there was quorum," the court said in its ruling. "We come to the conclusion that she acted illegally."

While celebrating the ruling, activists warned that homosexuality remains a criminal offence in the east African country under colonial-era laws. The fiercely controversial statute represented a dramatic toughening of the penalties. It banned the "promotion of homosexuality" and enabled life sentences to be imposed for various same-sex acts, including touching in public or living in a same-sex marriage...

Homophobia is widespread in the socially conservative country, where American evangelical Christian groups have been accused of fuelling prejudice. The legislation was seen as a political ploy by Museveni to shore up support before elections in 2016, which will be his 30th year in power. The court's intervention allows him to blame others for its defeat while also placating western donors, who were reluctant to punish a military ally.

Outspoken anti-gay preacher Martin Ssempa had suggested that the petition was being pushed to mend Uganda's international reputation before Museveni travels to Washington next week to meet Obama at a
landmark US-Africa summit. "There are efforts … to drum up a legal precedent to try to show [Washington] that, 'Hey, we are not that bad on homosexuality,'"

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