Blow as Uganda’s Constitutional Court Upholds Anti-Homosexuality Act


Uganda’s Constitutional Court has dealt a devastating blow to the country’s LGBTQI+ community by refusing to strike down the appalling Anti-Homosexuality Act.

On Wednesday, the court issued its ruling on several consolidated petitions challenging the constitutionality of the draconian law.

A panel of five justices declared that the Anti-Homosexuality Act complies with the Constitution of Uganda except in only four provisions.

“We decline to nullify the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 in its entirety, neither will we grant a permanent injunction against its enforcement,” said Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera.

The court, however, nullified sections that criminalised the renting of premises for use “for homosexual purposes”, the failure by anyone to report acts of homosexuality to the police, and the engagement in acts of homosexuality by anyone which results in the other person contracting a terminal illness.

One of the World’s Harshest Anti-LGBT Laws

The law, which was passed by parliament and signed by President Yoweri Museveni in May 2023, will continue to impose life imprisonment for engaging in homosexual acts and the death penalty for “aggravated” homosexuality.

The law also outlaws the “promotion of homosexuality,” putting human rights defenders advocating for LGBTQI+ rights at risk of imprisonment for up to 20 years.

Human Rights Watch has described the Anti-Homosexuality Act as “one of the world’s harshest anti-LGBT laws.”

According to a statement from Uganda’s Judiciary, the court considered in its decision the “uniqueness of Uganda’s Constitution which obliges the courts of law to take into account the country’s socio-cultural norms, values, and aspirations when resolving any disputes before them.”

LGBTIQ+ People Pushed Further Into the Darkness

The judgement dashes the hopes of LGBTQI+ activists that the court would nullify the law for violating several fundamental human rights, including those enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution.

Responding to the ruling, activist Dr Frank Mugisha, who was one of the petitioners in the case, tweeted: “The Constitutional Court of Uganda has affirmed the sentiments of the homophobic Ugandan public albeit without any evidence on the record. Shame!”

Activist Steven Kabuye, who was stabbed in a suspected anti-LGBTIQ+ attack in January, commented: “The LGBTQI+ community has been pushed further in the darkness, as always, with claims of protecting public policy and moral values.” He added that “the price of freedom to an ordinary LGBTQI+ Ugandan is death.”

This is the second disastrous anti-LGBTQI+ ruling by the courts in Uganda in recent weeks. Last month, the Appeal Court upheld the government’s refusal to register an LGBTQI+ rights group because LGBTQI+ people are deemed criminals in the country.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend