Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has seemingly changed his mind on criminalizing LGBTQ has asked legislators to make clear in the proposed law that it is not criminal to merely identify as gay, as part of an attempt to tone down a bill that has drawn international condemnation.
Last month, legislators in the East African country overwhelmingly passed the proposed legislation, and sent it to the president for approval.
The planned law criminalizes a broad range of homosexual activity including promoting or abetting the lifestyle and imposes stiff penalties including death for so-called aggravated homosexuality.
In the letter, Museveni said it needed to be clear and distinguish between someone who professes a homosexual lifestyle and someone who actually commits homosexual acts.
“The proposed law should be clear so that what is thought to be criminalised is not the state of one having a deviant proclivity but rather the actions of one acting on that deviancy,” Museveni wrote in the letter.
“The bill should be reviewed and include a provision that clearly states… a person who is believed or alleged or suspected of being a homosexual who has not committed a sexual act with another person of the same sex does not commit an offence.”
Museveni advised legislators last week to “look into the issue of rehabilitation” and make changes to the bill. The country’s deputy attorney general has advised that a mandatory death penalty also be removed from the law.