Moral Low Ground

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Gay Rights Activist Beaten to Death in Uganda

Clearly, Uganda is no country for gay men.

David Kato, a gay rights activist in Uganda, an African nation that punishes homosexuality with 14 year prison terms, was beaten to death in his home in Mukono, near the capital city of Kampala. According to the BBC, a man entered Kato’s home, beat him to death, and left. There has been a recent surge in “iron-bar killings,” popular during the reign of the monstrous dictator Idi Amin, in Mukono. Several suspects have been arrested.

Kato formed the Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) group to fight for the rights of Uganda’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) population as they face some of the harshest government-sanctioned homophobia in the world. As mentioned, homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, punishable by a 14 year prison sentence, and a proposed  anti-homosexuality bill would have increased the penalty to a death sentence had international outcry not killed it in 2009. The bill was backed by conservative evangelical Christian groups in the United States. According to Democracy Now!, Kato had this to say about the role of Christian groups in anti-gay hate legislation in his country:

“What I want the world to see is the hate, the hate which is behind this bill, the faith-based—whatever they are spreading, OK? Will Uganda be able to understand the faith-based hate behind the bill? There’s the [faith-based hate], which is causing—a genocide might come up. We are going to die.”

Uganda’s Rolling Stone newspaper had published photographs of suspected homosexuals with a headline reading HANG THEM. Several gay activists were beaten following the publication of the photos. According to SMUG, David Kato has been receiving death threats ever since his photo appeared in the newspaper. Rolling Stone editor Giles Muhame told Reuters that he condemned the murder and that he didn’t want to gays to be attacked.

“We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them,” he said.

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One Comment

  1. RichardJanuary 29, 2011 at 6:53 pmReply

    My website http://gayprejudice.com gives insight into this difficult issue.

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