From THE INDEPENDENT (Uganda):
At the Imperial Hotel in Entebbe last month, MP David Bahati moved around the room handing out copies of his anti-gay bill to religious leaders of all the major faiths and denominations. Muslim imams in their embroidered skull caps, Anglican and Catholic priests in their collars were joined by Pentecostals, Seventh Day Adventists, Bahais and others at the gathering, a meeting of the Inter-religious Council of Uganda.
“Through these people we will reach about 95% of the people who believe in God,” said Bahati.
The MP also plans to fly to the US and the UK to make his case this month. Here at home, he has spoken at Makerere University and other public venues; he also plans to go to over 20 secondary schools before the private member’s bill comes before parliament again. “We are working day and night to make sure that this bill gets passed,” he said.
A former teacher of the MP’s from Ndorwa West, Onesimus Asiimwe, who is now the chaplain to the Anglican archbishop in Uganda, said he is not surprised that the man is at the vanguard of the crusade against gays. He recalls that the future MP was reserved and quiet as a student but “a leader already.” He says Bahati always stood out.
“You could see he had a bigger potential than what he was displaying.”
The story of how Bahati came to be the face of the anti-gay campaign in Uganda goes back a couple of years. The MP, a father himself, first became interested in the issue of homosexuality after hearing testimony from sexually molested children. “I’m passionate about the issue of homosexuality because of both the danger for our children and our society,” he said.
However, as many have pointed out, Uganda’s criminal code already provides for the death penalty in cases of sexual assault or defilement of a person under 18. And besides that one provision, the bill has nothing to do with the sexual abuse of children at all. In fact, the bill’s stated purpose is to prohibit “any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex.” It establishes a sentence of life imprisonment for those who commit “the offense of homosexuality.”
So what business does the government have with what two consenting adults of the same sex do in the privacy of their own bedroom? To Bahati what goes on between them is a crime. “If two thieves were in the bedroom, would you stop government from going there? If two terrorists were in the bedroom, would you stop government from going there? When they get out they will influence (society). They are planning to recruit children into this behaviour.”
Seeing TV and newspaper reports from the west of homosexuals getting married also helped to motivate Bahati, who speaks of a world-wide “gay agenda.” “These are stories that really moved me. I said, ‘Wow this can’t go on; something must happen.’ I saw this happening in our country if we didn’t act.”