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UGANDA : Constitutional Court Upholds Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, Petitioners Vow Appeal



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In a significant legal development, the Constitutional Court has upheld the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, dismissing a consolidated petition that challenged its provisions.

Led by Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, five justices of the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of maintaining the Anti-Homosexuality Act, emphasizing its role in safeguarding children and vulnerable members of society.

Justice Buteera highlighted that certain sections of the Act, aimed at restricting gay individuals from accessing housing and medical care, were necessary to protect mental health.

However, the Court acknowledged that certain provisions of the Act, specifically sections 3, 2(c), and 9,11(2), infringed upon the right to health and adequate standards of living as enshrined in the constitution. Consequently, these sections were ordered to be struck out.

The petition, spearheaded by notable figures such as West Budama MP Fox Odoi, Uganda’s Ambassador to South Africa Kintu Nyango, and Veteran Journalist Andrew Mwenda, alongside several society organizations, aimed to challenge laws criminalizing consensual adult same-sex relations.

Critics argued that the Anti-Homosexuality Act violated constitutional articles pertaining to personal freedoms, dignity, and hindered HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.

However, the Court refuted these claims, citing the government’s success in combating HIV/AIDS and asserting that the Act would not impede ongoing efforts.

Reacting to the verdict, Andrew Mwenda expressed disappointment and vowed to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court. Mwenda voiced confidence in the judiciary’s ability to uphold the rights of homosexuals despite prevailing cultural prejudices.

Mwenda dismissed arguments about protecting children from gay recruitment, asserting that such claims lacked evidentiary support.

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Despite the ruling, the Court ordered each party to bear its own costs, signaling the end of this legal battle in the Constitutional Court but paving the way for potential further litigation in the Supreme Court.

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