In February 2014, President Museveni of Uganda signed into law one of the harshest anti-gay bills in the world. As of August 2014 the “kill the gays” bill, as it was often called in the media, is no longer valid. The bill was overturned based on a simple technicality; there were not enough members of parliament present when the bill was passed. President Museveni has recently expressed a desire to reinstate a milder version of the controversial bill. While the draconian nature of the original bill alienated many of the western countries that Uganda relies on for foreign aid and trade, the overturning of the original bill was not based on a shift in the government’s beliefs. Regardless, many gay rights activists in Uganda are celebrating this as a step in the right direction.
Earlier this year, while the anti gay law was still in place, Vocativ attended a secret gay wedding ceremony in Uganda. If the local police force had found out about the ceremony, everyone present, including our crew, could have potentially faced jail time. Although the marriage we attended isn’t legally recognized, the couple said that it was an important symbolic ritual for them to take part in.
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