Gay Ugandans hold pride parade
ENTEBBE, Uganda – Scores of Ugandan homosexuals marched through sprawling botanical gardens in the lakeside town of Entebbe on Saturday, their first pride parade since a Ugandan court invalidated a controversial anti-gay law.
Many marchers wore masks, signaling they did not want to be publicly identified in a country where homosexuals and their supporters face severe discrimination.
Although organizers had expected more than 500 people to attend the event, fewer than 200 turned up, said gay activist Moses Kimbugwe, who noted that many were afraid of possible violence following a court’s decision earlier this month to jettison an anti-gay law that had wide support among Ugandans.
“We are here to walk for those who can’t walk, who are afraid to walk,” said Kimbugwe. “We are here to celebrate our rights.”
Uganda’s Constitutional Court ruled last week that the anti-gay law enacted only five months ago was illegal because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum. Some lawmakers have pledged to try to reintroduce the same legislation when parliament emerges from a recess later this month. They said they would try to pass the same law in parliament since it had been invalidated on technical grounds and not its substance.
Homosexuality had been mostly a taboo subject in Uganda until a lawmaker, saying he wanted to protect children from Western gays, introduced a bill in 2009 prescribing the death penalty for what the bill described as serious homosexual offenses. The bill was revised to remove the death penalty and instead have jail terms of up to life for convicted homosexuals.
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