Gay rights campaigners hope to collect enough signatures to ask Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni to refuse to sign an anti-homosexuality bill.

The legislation, in its current form, calls for harsher punishments for homosexuality. For “aggravated” case, such as those involving disabled people, those with HIV or minors, it calls for the death penalty.

Landlords, teachers and family members could also be prosecuted for failing to report gay people to police.

The status of the bill has been unclear for months, with conflicting reports about its progress through the legislature.

Late last year, it appeared to have been scrapped. However, campaigners say that parliament may vote on it this week and are urging people to sign a petition against it.

The petition, started by Allout.org, says: “Our best chance at stopping the bill is each other – if thousands of us spread the word we can make clear that the world is watching and we will not allow this to stand.”

The appeal adds: “Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has shown himself to be sensitive to international pressure. Last year, a massive response from people around the world pushed him to stop the bill in its tracks.”

President Museveni has not given his opinions on the bill but ethics minister James Nsaba Buturo said last January that the leader did not agree with killing gays and lesbians.

The anonymous blogger GayUganda wrote last week that parliament’s return to the bill was a “diversion” tactic to take attention away from riots and the fear of more civil unrest.