Ugandan court rejects controversial anti-gay law

06 August 2014 | by Liz Dodd

A Ugandan court has overturned anti-gay legislation that sought to punish homosexual acts and cohabitation with life imprisonment.

The statute, which was criticised by a senior Vatican cardinal but not by the Ugandan bishops, imposed life sentences for some same-sex acts, such as living together as a married couple and touching in public, and toughened penalties for “promoting” homosexuality.

A panel of five judges in Uganda’s Constitutional Court ruled on Friday that the parliamentary vote that passed the measure in February was illegal because not enough MPs were in attendance.

Reflecting on the Court’s decision to overturn the legislation the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, said the ruling was a “disappointment” for the Church.

In March Ghanian Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, criticised the law in March, telling a human rights conference in Bratislava that “homosexuals are not criminals”. But the Ugandan Bishops' Conference, while affirming its opposition to homosexuality, declined to comment on the new law.

Homosexuality remains a criminal offence in Uganda.

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