Current Affairs

New Archbishop of Uganda called gays ‘unacceptable’ but opposed death penalty bill

Stephen Gray June 25, 2012
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The new Archbishop of Uganda has been announced as the Rt Rev Stanley Ntagali, who has spoken out against the death penalty for people convicted of homosexuality in the African state while also calling the sexual orientation “categorically unacceptable”.

The Rt Rev Stanley Ntagali was elected the eighth Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda in a secret ballot last week and will be consecrated in December.

He joined international concern over the death penalty provisions in Uganda’s infamous ‘Kill the gays’ bill in 2009 but has spoken out against homosexuality in the past and backed the prison sentences given for some kinds of gay acts.

Ugandan daily New Vision said at the weekend the new Archbishop’s anti-gay views were “well-known”.

He said in 2009: “Homosexuality is a big issue in Africa. The Bible says that only men of good standing, following the word of Christ can be leaders of the Church. We disagree with our counterparts in England and America, who ordain homosexuals as priests.”

Speaking in reaction to a draft law which would have seen the death penalty introduced for some offences related to gay acts instead of the severe prison sentences currently used, the then-Bishop of Masindi-Kitara said he opposed the death penalty.

The bill condemned for life imprisonment anyone who performed a gay sexual act. It would have given the death penalty to anyone who committed a gay act with a minor, their own child or someone with a disability. They would also be liable for death if they were living with HIV or if they had been convicted of a gay act before.

Bishop Ntagali said in reaction to the 2009 draft law that homosexuality was “categorically unacceptable.”

But, he added: “I think the death penalty is not acceptable. I think taking someone to jail for a period of time would be sufficient.”

It was not clear which aggravating factors he believed should warrant a custodial sentence, and sexual acts with a minor, for example, would similarly attract a prison sentence in the UK.

The bill has subsequently languished in the parliament committee stage and the Ugandan government has distanced itself from it, though fears exist that it will be resurrected.

After being accused of breaking up two pro-gay rights workshops, Uganda’s Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo signed a statement last week saying everybody has the right to freely assemble in the African state.

The former Catholic priest had said he believed gays and lesbians were “recruiting” children to homosexuality and said he would dissolve 38 NGOs which were engaged in such activities.

More: Africa, Africa, Anglican, Anti-gay, Church, death penalty, Gay, Uganda, Uganda

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