Ugandan Christian group bans clergy from marrying gay couples

The umbrella organization of Ugandan evangelical Christians, the Born Again Faith Federation, has told its clerics to refrain from marrying gay couples should government drop the infamous Anti Homosexuality Bill.

Uganda’s Daily Monitor news paper reported on Wednesday this week that the association’s head, Dr Joseph Serwadda, said recently that there are signs that the government will be “forced to soften on the demands by the gay movement” in order to throw away the already-shelved Bill which was brought forward by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati.

Dr Serwadda is quoted by the newspaper as saying, “The church needs to be assured that government will stand its ground, and this evil be kept where it belongs – in the secret closets of those who practice it.”

The call by the clergy is unnecessary as Uganda’s existing marriage law, the Marriage Act of 1904 does not provide for same-sex marriage.

Nevertheless, the comments by the group come a week after former South African president Thabo Mbeki said in Kampala that the proposed anti-gay law does not make any sense.

Last year US President Barack Obama and the UK administration warned they would use foreign aid and asylum conditionalities to push for homosexuality to be decriminalised in Uganda and other “conservative countries”.

Uganda relies heavily on the US for military help to fight the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army in the north of the country and has sent troops to Somalia to fight the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group.

Speaking on the issue of diplomatic pressure, the bill’s architect, David Bahati said, “Our position as a country is clear. Our Constitution prohibits homosexuality and we are not in a trade of values.”

Bahati also advised former president Mbeki to “first read and understand” his Bill.

“The Bill was brought to curb a several issues including inducement, recruitment and funding homosexuality. His Excellency (Mbeki) needs to read the Bill and understand the spirit in which it was brought and the context in which we are talking about,” Bahati said.

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