Ugandan lawmakers on Friday passed an anti-gay law that punishes “aggravated homosexuality” with life imprisonment.
The bill drew wide condemnation when it was first introduced in 2010 and included the death penalty, but that was removed from the revised version passed by parliament.
Although a provision for the death penalty was removed from the original bill, the law passed on Friday sets life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for the new offense of “aggravated homosexuality,” according to the office of a spokeswoman for Uganda’s parliament.
The bill was introduced to parliament by a lawmaker who argued the law was needed to deter Western homosexuals he accused of “recruiting” Ugandan children.
Amid international criticism, the bill was repeatedly shelved despite the protests of Ugandan lawmakers. Days before Christmas last year, the speaker of Uganda’s parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, threatened to pass the anti-gay law as a “Christmas gift” to all Ugandans.
When the bill was first proposed, President Barack Obama called it “odious.”