UPDATE 3-Ugandan court overturns anti-gay law that halted Western aid

Fri Aug 1, 2014 3:25pm GMT

* Judge says parliament lacked quorum to enact law

* State free to appeal ruling nullifying legislation

* Activists say law violates constitutional rights

* Western donors have cut aid in protest (Adds White House comment)

By Elias Biryabarema

KAMPALA, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Uganda's constitutional court on Friday overturned an anti-homosexuality law that punished gay sex with long prison sentences and was condemned by Western and other donors, some of whom withheld aid in protest.

The new ruling, which can be appealed, voids a statute signed into law by the president in February and which had broad support in the religiously conservative east African nation.

Under the Anti-Homosexuality Act, those convicted of "aggravated homosexuality" - defined as someone with HIV having gay sex or gay sex with anyone vulnerable, such as a disabled person - would be put in prison for life.

Homosexuality is a taboo issue in much of Africa and is illegal in 37 countries on the continent. But the punishments laid out in Uganda were among the harshest.   Continued...

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