BY RODNEY MUHUMUZA, ASSOCIATED PRESS
KAMPALA, Uganda -- Uganda's anti-gay bill will be passed before the end of 2012 despite international criticism of the draft legislation, the speaker of the country's parliament said Monday, insisting it is what most Ugandans want.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told The Associated Press that the bill, which originally mandated death for some gay acts, will become law this year.
Ugandans "are demanding it," she said, reiterating a promise she made before a meeting on Friday of anti-gay activists who spoke of "the serious threat" posed by homosexuals to Uganda's children. Some Christian clerics at the meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, asked the speaker to pass the law as "a Christmas gift."
"Speaker, we cannot sit back while such (a) destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation," the activists said in a petition. "We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament ... so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation."
The anti-gay activists paraded in front of Kadaga, with parents and schoolchildren holding up signs saying homosexuality is "an abomination." The speaker then promised to consider the bill within two weeks, declaring that "the power is in our hands."
"Who are we not to do what they have told us? These people should not be begging us," Kadaga said of activists who want the bill to become law.