Harper: hero to Uganda’s homosexuals - Macleans.ca

Harper: hero to Uganda’s homosexuals

Harper opposes harsh laws aimed at Uganda’s homosexuals


Harper: hero to Uganda’s homosexuals

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose party refused to support same-sex marriage in Canada, is being hailed as a gay rights hero—in Uganda. “He’s a human rights activist,” said Brown Kiyimba. “Harper is a liberal guy,” added Emmanueil Turinawe. Both men are from Uganda’s gay community, which is under siege thanks to a bill that calls for life sentences for gays who “touch another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality,” and even the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” such as having sex while HIV-positive or being a “serial offender.” That bill, currently being debated in the Ugandan parliament, was introduced by government MP David Bahati and enjoys widespread support in a nation that already criminalizes homosexual acts. It also calls for the imprisonment of heterosexuals who fail to report gays, and the abolition of gay-rights organizations convicted of promoting homosexuality. And gay Ugandans don’t have to live in the nation to be affected by the proposed legislation, since it can apply to offences outside Uganda.

Until recently, the Prime Minister of Canada never registered on the radar of most gay Ugandans. But at last November’s Commonwealth conference in Trinidad and Tobago, Harper had a private meeting with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni. He gave him his two cents’ worth on the anti-gay bill. Shortly after, the East African leader told BBC News, “The Prime Minister of Canada came to see me and what was he talking about? Gays.” For the first time, Museveni talked of the need for “extreme caution” about the bill because it had become a foreign affairs issue. (Though he hasn’t openly supported the proposed legislation, Museveni’s previous statement criticizing homosexuality—he claimed “European homosexuals are recruiting in Africa”—combined with the time and attention the private member’s bill has received in parliament, led many observers to conclude he tacitly backs it.)

Gay and lesbian Ugandans were thrilled. “The Prime Minister of Canada putting it forward was a way for the [gay] community to know the position of the president on this bill,” said Abdallah Wambere, another gay Ugandan. And since Harper and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown brought up the issue at the Commonwealth conference, other world leaders have followed, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

But Harper’s criticism has also caused a backlash in Uganda. The country’s vice-president even accused him of “fuelling homosexuality.” “Nobody supports men marrying men here,” said Gilbert Bukenya, “but we have pressure because there are some [outside] people who marry men and they are powerful.” Bukenya’s remarks were widely reported in Ugandan newspapers; there is now speculation in Uganda that, if the anti-gay bill passes, foreign donors will cut back on aid to the country. Kiyimba, for one, thinks that would be fair. “Canada gives us money and it deserves to know how it’s spent,” he said. But because the main victims of possible sanctions would be the poor, Kiyimba said foreign donors should target the ruling class. “Those politicians who are saying gays should be banned should be banned from going to the West,” he said, “because that’s where they transact their business.”

Given that Ugandans will go to the polls next year, and there is little support in the country for gay rights, a version of the anti-gay bill is expected to win parliament’s approval. If that happens, Uganda’s gays and lesbians are hoping that President Museveni will use his veto power to kill it. But since Museveni is facing very little opposition to the bill inside Uganda, a veto is only likely if outside pressure continues, Uganda’s gays say. “Harper deserves real credit,” said Turinawe. “He did the right thing at the right time. But if he keeps quiet now, people here will think he’s been silenced.”


Harper: hero to Uganda’s homosexuals

  1. Wow, Harper actually did a good thing, only two in his career (including supporting active northern soverienty). Its sad that an entire nation has been so brainwashed and cursed with their homophobia to the extent that they are actually willing to imprison and kill them while claiming to be Christians. They say the Devil comes in many false forms and will use the Bible to his advantage and it seems to be working in Uganada. Forces of evil are playing the people to believe they are doing the right thing but they will have some questions to answer in heaven regarding why they supported a type of genecide in killing innocent people. As a heterosexual and a human I find this to be one of the most disgusting acts since Hitler and Rwanda and all the nations of the world should resort to force if the bill is enacted or admit that they are support of murder and evil. May Uganda fall and burn if it truely supports such evil.

  2. Hey Zak, if been misled in 2 ways by others: first, Harper both here in Canada and internationally is for human rights, consistently, always. Defending people's basic rights is one thing, and those apply to everyone.
    Second, Harper was not against gay marriage, rather he was the only Party leader who recognized that in such a major debate Members of Parliament should NOT listen to their Party Leader, but they should listen to their real bosses, the VOTERS. Harper was the only Leader who told his MPs to listen to their constituents and make their own decision, because we are a democracy. Harper is the only federal Leader who is truly democratic, regardless of whatever other misinformation is out there.
    (PS – no one has a right to marriage, that is not and has never been a human right… Human rights are right to life, security of person, property/space, freedom of association, freedom of conscience, expression…)

    • Your claim that harper is being hyporcitial is morally incoherent. In no way is "a bill that calls for life sentences for gays who “touch another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality,”" in any way equivalent to withholding official sanctioning for gay marriage.

      • who are you to judge what is moral? why should we follow your definition of morality? these are all man made rights. if they were God given rights, then we know what God has mentioned in religious scriptures about homosexuality and lesbianism. so my friends you are the ones who are confused. if you have man made rights that allow homosexuals to exist, Africa has man made laws that call for their suppression because they believe that the practice of homosexuality is wrong. so my free Americans, man made laws don't have to be uniform throughout the world because we all have different views on life. why should Africans adopt American laws? Are you saying Africans are not mentally fit to make their own laws? if this is your point of view, then it's OK. you have the right to think this way, just as the Africans have the right to think that homosexuals are not fit to be in their societies. MAN MADE LAWS BABY! YOU STARTED IT, SO NOW YOU CAN CHOKE ON IT!

        • If the Africans are willing to kill innocent lives than they are most certainly not capable of making their own laws and if homosexuals aren't "fit" to be in that sad excuse of a country than send them to one of the great nations of the north; Canada, the Netherlands, Begium, Spain or even, to a lesser degree, the United States. Everyone has the right to their own views, I will not dispute that, but no one has the right to systematically kill innocent people. Just as the other Adam said; what is happening in Uganda (and other areas of the world) is nothing less than that which happened in WWII Germany and in Rwanda. What I am basically hearing is that a heterosexual who has lived a life of hate a violence is greater than the homosexual who has devoted their life to saving lives. If you want to kill innocent people than I guess that is your perogative; it is people like you that ensure people like me continue to press for progress in all areas of life.

    • So than you support lesbians and believe that a large number of heterosexuals are going to hell and only some homosexuals? Lesbians do not practice sodomy and are actually not mentioned in the Bible. Heterosexuals also practice anal sex and some people who are homosexuals do not practice anal sex. Think before you talk dude, your hate is blinding reality and yes, I believe even you can understand that; I guess its just the kind of sweet, just, caring and understanding person I am :)

    • I cannot believe that I forgot to reply to your claim that Stephen Harper is not against same-sex marriage..Let me tackle this briefly…

      In the court cases that were before various provincial courts it was unanimous that to deny the right to marry to same-sex couples was unconstitutional. After the passing of Bill C-38, the Harper government denied the hard fought battles of the LGBTI and human rights community and their supporters by introducing an unconstitutional motion that called on "the government to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage without affecting civil unions and while respecting existing same-sex marriages." This motion challenged the Charter rights of same-sex couples, attempted to impose a definition of marriage that excludes same-sex couples and re-opened the debate much to the detriment of the gay community. Moreover, regardless if there was a free vote on the issue, the only way to 'turn back the clock' would be to use the notwithstanding clause to override the Charter rights of gays and lesbians, and the use of this clause would have to be revisited every 5 years in order to maintain the prohibition.

      So…Still believe that the Harper government is democratic? Still believe that the Harper government supports human rights for ALL humans, including the LGBTI community?

      If you do, I could go on…

      It is time for Canadians to wake up and resist the path (read: downward spiral) that Harper and his government have chosen for Canada.

  3. Great ! Lets send the moron to Uganda .

  4. Knock of the caps-lock .No need to yell and scream .

  5. off not of .

  6. The hatred and ignorance being spewed by the religious nutcases in these comments is truly awe-inspiring. Canada must take the lead in banning all religious activities and beliefs, and treat religion as a public health menance. Unlike the phoney WHO pandemics, religion really does kill people.

    • Well said.

  7. The Prime Minister of Canada came to see me and what was he talking about? Gays.” For the first time, Museveni talked of the need for “extreme caution” about the bill because it had become a foreign affairs issue. (Though he hasn't openly supported the proposed legislation, Museveni's previous statement criticizing homosexuality—he claimed “European homosexuals are recruiting in Africa”
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  8. So Harper had nothing to do except to talk about gays. He is a real time waster who has the menial issues in the top priority list.
    In fact, this issue should not be one as religions and our standard societies do not have any place for gays. I shall be very interested if gays can produce babies and then we shall know if they are useful to produce new generations.

  9. so to understand you correctly, only people that can reproduce are useful? so does that mean we can round up everyone with low sperm counts and through them in prison?
    The fact is the GLBT comunity is maintained (pop wise) becuase 5-10% of babies are born GLBT, which is how they produce new generations, even if you rounded up every single one and killed them, there would be another generation simply by regular reproduction, and killing them would be crazy because it would be like killing everyone with blond hair and expecting that this would stop blond haired babies from being born… it wont; and why should we?

  10. Great article Raj. I never knew that something like this is happening if I haven't read your article.

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  13. I think it's a testament to Canada that even the rightwing nutjobs aren't ignorant enough to be homophobic bigots! Good on him. And shame on America for supplying the funding that supports anti-gay evangelicals and politicians in America (with nothing for condoms, natch).