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Uganda anti-gay bill reintroduced

A Ugandan MP has revived a controversial anti-gay bill but dropped the provision for the death penalty for certain same-sex acts.

The BBC reported that MPs laughed, clapped and cried out, “Our bill, our bill,” when sponsor David Bahati reintroduced the draft legislation on Feb. 7.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was shelved in 2011 after an international outcry.

The legislation would still increase the punishment to life in prison for gay-related offenses.

Homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda – a conservative society, where many condemn homosexuality.

Anyone failing to report to the authorities a person they knew to be gay would also be liable to prosecution.

The BBC's Joshua Mmali in the capital, Kampala, reported that Bahati confirmed the draft legislation changed in one fundamental way.

Those found guilty of "aggravated homosexuality" – defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a “serial offender” – would no longer face the death penalty, as originally proposed.

A parliamentary committee recommended the revision, after the original legislation was condemned by Western leaders, including Barack Obama who described it as “odious” and threatened to cut off aid to Uganda.

The bill was first introduced in 2009, but has never made it to a debate in the chamber.

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