A Ugandan constitutional court declared the country’s anti-gay law illegal. The reason was that parliament did not have a quorum when it was passed. The five judge constitutional court ruled that the speaker of parliament had acted illegally when she allowed a vote on the measure despite the lack of a quorum when the bill was passed. They also found the speaker ignored objections by the prime minister to this effect.
The anti-gay bill, which has been very disputed by international rights groups (and discussed previously in this blog), was signed into law in December by President Yoweri Museveni. The bill provided for homosexuals to be jailed for life, outlawed the promotion of homosexuality and obliged Ugandans to denounce gays to the authorities or be charged with promotion of homosexuality.
Anti-homosexuality sentiment is prevalent in Uganda, and critics have said that Mr. Museveni signed the law to win domestic support ahead of a presidential election scheduled for 2016, which will be his 30th year in power. But Western nation opposed to the bill responded with aid cuts to Uganda’s government in protest since the law was passed. Rights groups say the law triggered a sharp increase in arrests and assaults of members of the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community
The government could call for a new session with quorum or appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court.