After the Ugandan courts suspended the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) on a technical ground, the persecution of the Ugandan LGBT community continues through a new Bill, the Prohibition of Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill, 2014 . This Human Dignity Trust’s Briefing highlights key issues. The language of the new Bill is less sensational than the AHA but it is equally draconian. This Bill expressly criminalises the non-sexual conduct of LGBT people and criminalise those who provide services to them. It may also render many LGBT people homeless.
On 29 October 2014, the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Singapore dismissed the joint appeals of Tan Eng Hong and Lim Meng Suang/Kenneth Chee Mun-Leon, who had separately challenged the constitutionality of section 377A of the Penal Code. Section 377A proscribes acts of ‘gross indecency’ between males and, in effect, criminalises male homosexuality in Singapore.
On 1 August 2014 the Ugandan Constitutional Court declared Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) void on the basis that Parliament did not have the required quorum when the Act was passed on 20 December 2013. Under Uganda’s Constitution, at least one-third of the members of Parliament entitled to vote must be present when proposed legislation is voted upon. The Court ruled that the AHA was passed without the required quorum, in contravention of the Constitution, and that the Speaker acted illegally in allowing a vote. This rendered the process of enactment “an illegality that [the] Court cannot sanction.”
On 9 October 2014, Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh signed his assent to the Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 2014, passed by the Gambian Parliament on 25 August 2014. The Act further criminalises the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Gambia.
Téa Braun, ‘Dark Side of the Moon: The Legacy of British Sexual Offences Laws in the Commonwealth’, presentation to Legal and Judicial Legacies of Empire Conference, 17 June 2014.
While awaiting directions from the Court in respect of a hearing, the Northern Cyprus Parliament – prompted in part by this litigation – repealed the offending provisions on 27 January 2014. The Presidential assent was given on 6 February 2014 and the gazetting took place on 7 February 2014. The Human Dignity Trust submitted a letter to the Court on 1 April 2014 seeking to have the case discontinued. On 3 June 2014 the Court decided to strike the case from its list, thereby formally ending the proceedings.