Uganda court strikes down draconian anti-gay law over technicality

By Kyle Johnson,

A Ugandan court overturned the country's draconian anti-gay law on Friday over a parliamentary technicality.

Judge Steven Kavuma said the law is "null and void," as a result of the law being passed by an incorrect quorum of lawmakers, AFP reports.

The constitutional court ruled only on the quorum issue and not whether the anti-gay law violated several constitutional rights, including right to privacy and dignity along with the right to be free from discrimination or inhuman treatment.

Though the bill could eventually be reintroduced and there are other laws that make it illegal to be gay in Uganda, gay rights supporters are still celebrating.

"The retrogressive anti-homosexuality act of Uganda has been struck down by the constitutional court," Andrew Mwenda, who was one of 10 who petitioned the court over the law, said. "It's now dead as a door nail."

The lawmaker who introduced the bill, David Bahati, told AFP, "It is a setback but not a major one, because the law is intact."

Since President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill in February, there has been outside pressure and condemnation. The president has largely shrugged off calls for its repeal saying other countries should mind their own business.

The United States in June imposed harsher sanctions over the law, further reducing aid money to the country. After four months of the bill being signed, more than $118 million in aid had been pulled or re-directed elsewhere.

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