(CNN) — Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni does not oppose a controversial anti-LGBTQ+ bill and plans to finalize it next week, Uganda’s ruling party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), said on Thursday.
“President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has congratulated the members of parliament for their stand on homosexuality and agreed to assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023 into law,” said NRM in a press release published on its website.
However, Museveni has not yet signed the bill into law and earlier today following a meeting of the NRM, he decided to send it back to the parliament for amendments.
The Anti Homosexuality Bill 2023 would criminalize even identifying as LGBTQ+ and also suggests the death penalty for so-called “aggravated homosexuality.”
Scientists and academics this week signed an open letter urging Museveni to veto the bill, which has received widespread condemnation from around the world, including from the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States’ Secretary of State.
NRM chief whip Denis Hamson Obua said on Thursday that the anti-LGBTQ+ bill has “in principle” been supported unanimously by the NRM parliamentary caucus, and that “all the punishment contained therein in regards to promotion of homosexuality, to recruitment of homosexuals, to publicizing homosexuality is upheld.”
According to the NRM press release, Museveni has proposed the bill be amended to offer amnesty “for those who will have come out to be helped not to punish them.”
“Since we have agreed now, I’m going to return that bill, and you quickly deal with those issues and we sign it,” Museveni said according to the NRM’s press release.
Museveni is expected to meet the legal affairs committee of parliament and other parties next week to finalize the bill.
It is already currently illegal to engage in same-sex relations in Uganda under section 145 of the country’s penal code. Same-sex conduct has been deemed “against to the order of nature” in the country and warrants a life sentence in prison.
The bill was passed almost unanimously by lawmakers in Ugandan parliament last month.