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Court In Uganda Throws Out Anti-Gay Law

Members of Uganda's gay community and gay rights activists react after the constitutional court overturned an anti-gay law.
Members of Uganda's gay community and gay rights activists react after the constitutional court overturned an anti-gay law.

A court in Uganda has thrown out a controversial law that mandated harsh punishments, including life in prison, for acts of homosexuality.

The Associated Press reports the decision was a technical one. The court ruled that there was no quorum when Parliament met to pass the law.

The news service adds that:

" 'The speaker was obliged to ensure that there was quorum,' the court said in its ruling. 'We come to the conclusion that she acted illegally.'

"The ruling was made before a courtroom packed with Ugandans opposing or supporting the measure. Activists erupted in loud cheers after the court ruled the law is now 'null and void.'

"Ugandan lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, an attorney for the activists, said the ruling 'upholds the rule of law and constitutionalism in Uganda.' "

As NPR's Gregory Warner reported back in December, the law was criticized by Western leaders, including President Obama. And The Two-Way has noted that some European countries suspended assistance to Uganda over the law.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act made it a crime to "promote" homosexuality, which could have meant offering HIV counseling.

Reuters reports that the judges' ruling Friday "can be challenged through an appeals process."

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