Just two weeks after a constitutional court in Uganda struck down a controversial law that mandated harsh punishments, including life imprisonment, for people engaging in gay sex, the country’s lawmakers now want to frame a new, albeit, watered down version of the law, Al Jazeera reported Wednesday.
“We agreed to come up with a new version that doesn't hurt our Western friends but also protects Ugandans,” Medard Bitekyerezo, a legislator from the National Resistance Movement -- the ruling party in Uganda -- told Al Jazeera. “The president said he wants the law back in the house but now says if two consenting adults go into their room and decide to be stupid, let them be.”
However, he added that President Yoweri Museveni will seek to increase the severity of punishment meted out to those who “recruit children and exploit financially vulnerable youth.”
The original version of the law, enacted in February, sought to punish gay sex with long prison terms and also prescribed penalties for crimes like “attempted homosexuality” and “promotion of homosexuality.”
The law was declared null and void on Aug. 1 by a constitutional court, which ruled that the bill had been passed without the presence of the required number of legislators in the parliament.
The law, which was reportedly popular within the country, faced severe criticism from several human rights groups and members of the international community, including the U.S. and many European countries.
Bitekyerezo reportedly said that a committee headed by Kiwanuka Ssekandi, Uganda’s vice president, had been tasked with framing a new version of the law. He, however, did not mention when the new bill would be introduced in the parliament.