KAMPALA, Uganda -- In the days since the Constitutional Court on Friday struck down the Anti-Homosexuality Act, Uganda's homophobic lawmakers are already huddling behind closed doors to find a way to restore the draconian law that criminalizes everything gay and has endangered the everyday lives of LGBT Ugandans.
While Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been in Washington, DC for a U.S.-sponsored summit with African leaders, the landlocked nation's parliamentarians are plotting a strategy and seem emboldened because the high court didn't not comment on the law's intent. Indeed, the court overturned the law on a technicality: that the law was illegally passed in December 2013 because Parliament did not have a quorum when Speaker Rebecca Kadaga rushed the vote.
The parliamentarian, Latif Ssebaggala, told Reuters that he expects more than 200 lawmakers will promise to vote for a similar anti-gay bill. The unicameral parliament has 383 seats.
"We're mobilizing members to pledge their support for re-introduction of this bill when the House comes back from recess (in about two weeks' time)," Abdu Latif Ssebaggala, told Reuters on Wednesday.
Most likely the new bill will not have to go through parliamentary procedures to go up for a vote, although .
Uganda remains one of the most homophobic nations on Earth and one of 37 African countries where homosexuality is a crime. However, Uganda's laws are among the harshest on the planet, and drawing almost universal condemnation from western nations, the European Union and the United Nations.
The United States has forcefully condemned the law and cut some aid to Uganda, but ironically other funding flows in from anti-gay Evangelical groups in the U.S. that are exporting hate and homophobia around the world under the guise of Christian beliefs.
The reviled Anti-Homosexuality Act came with harsh prison punishments for LGBT people, their families and neighbors who did not snitch on them, or allies who tried to protect them from harm's way. Anyone convicted of "aggravated homosexuality" would be sentenced to life in prison, where LGBT people are typically abused by the convicts.
President Museveni, the unpopular dictator who is facing re-election, enthusiastically signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law in a nationally televised ceremony that triggered public celebration and earned him an uptick in the polls. At a former gathering at the White House this week, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama posed for a photo with Museveni. That drew the ire of many LGBT activists, who complained that it sent the wrong message.
Museveni and the United States have an uneasy alliance brought about by a mutual concern about global terrorism and African security issues, since Uganda sits in a critical location in Africa.