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New Anti-LGBTQ Legislation Introduced in Uganda

FIle - Kenyan members and supporters of the LGTB community wear masks to preserve their anonymity as they stage a protest in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014.

A Ugandan lawmaker introduced on Tuesday a new draft of legislation seeking to ban homosexuality in the East African nation, responding to a widespread anti-LGBTQ sentiment that has intensified in recent days.

The legislator, Asuman Basalirwa, said his proposed bill would penalize any acts of “promotion, recruitment and funding” related to LGBTQ activities.

Basalirwa spoke of homosexuality as “a cancer,” saying his bill is an opportunity to pass a strong law.

The new legislation received wide support from many lawmakers in the parliamentary chamber in Uganda's capital Kampala.

“You are either with us or you're with the Western world,” Speaker Anita Among said, announcing that legislators would show support by raising their hands when the bill eventually is put to a vote. “We should be counted, and we are going to vote by show of hands on this matter,” she added.

Same-sex relations in Uganda are already criminalized under a colonial-era penal code.

Details about the bill's specific provisions were not yet immediately available. But harsh anti-gay legislation enacted in 2014 later was annulled by a panel of judges amid international condemnation. That bill in its original draft had called for the death penalty for some homosexual acts.

Meanwhile, anti-gay sentiment has grown in recent days amid alleged reports of sodomy in boarding schools. The recent decision of the Church of England to bless civil marriages of same-sex couples also has inflamed many, including some who see homosexuality as imported from abroad.

“The Church of England has departed from the Anglican faith and are now false teachers,” Ugandan Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba said in a statement earlier this month that described “a crisis at hand.”