Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Uganda and anti-homosexuality laws

Dave Zarembka is a member of the Bethesda Friends Monthly Meeting, and is the head of the Africa Great Lakes Initiative. Like me, he has been pretty passionate that we maintain open relations with Friends United Meeting despite its hiring policy that does not allow for the hiring of anyone in a relationship that is not recognized by law (meaning any gay couple, or a hetero couple not legally married). It is with this in mind that I think serious consideration needs to be given to this letter sent out by Dave:
Dear Friends,

The Uganda legislature is considering one of the most repressive laws
that I have ever heard of. This law is geared against homosexuals, their
parents, teachers, counselors, landlord/lady, medical practioners, etc.
Punishment for homosexuality includes life imprisonment or the death
penalty. In addition everyone in the society will be an informant. Here
are some of the provisions:

- any parent who does not denounce their lesbian daughter or gay son to
the authorities will be fined Ush 5,000,000/= (about $250 in a country
where many live on $1 per day) or put away for three years.
- any teacher who does not report a lesbian or gay pupil to the
authorities within 24 hours will be fined Ush 5,000,000/= ($250) or put
away for three years in prison.
- any landlord or landlady who happens to give housing to a suspected
homosexual risks seven years of imprisonment.
The Ugandan Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional
Law concludes, "In short, this bill targets everybody, and involves
everybody: it cannot be implemented without making every citizen spy on
his or her neighbours."
It is time for folks to organize like the anti-aparteid movement in South
Africa. Boycott visitng Uganda, no investment, withdraw current
investment, ban on visas for politicans and atheletes, etc. Pressure the
US Government to confront President Museveni of Uganda who is reported to
be supporting the bill. Uganda is one of the US's stongest allies in
Africa so the US Government can put a lot of good pressure on Uganda.
(Uganda supports the US against those "bad guys" in Sudan, has AU troops
in Somalia). There is lots of potential for action and should include
both North America and Europe. Campaign to get them kicked out of the

I suggest that these actions begin immediately before the bill is enacted
into law.

David Zarembka
Lumakanda, Kenya

I will get in touch with some folks about what actions we might be able to put
together on this. I am pretty sure that Bishop Akinola's Anglican church, which
has strong moral and financial support here in the US, is a part of this, so action
may not only be about Uganda, but some of the congregations here that have
left the Episcopal church to join Akinola's church.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the introductory statement in this post the FUM personnel policy is described incorrectly. The distinction may seem fine, but it is important. Please see the introduction to a minute of exercise from NEYM Annual Sessions 2004.
Minute 04–74 is not an action minute, but one which describes our unity on this concern
about the exclusion from leadership roles of non-celibate unmarried couples, whether
they be heterosexual, gay or lesbian Friends.

To read the entire minute please go to
Anne Wright, Scarsdale MM, NYYM