A photograph of Ugandan gospel singer Julie Mutesasira kissing her female partner after their wedding was still trending online in Uganda a week after it was leaked on social media.
By Joto La Jiwe
It is not clear when and exactly where the marriage was conducted, but the man who claims to have leaked the photograph, Pastor Mondo Mugisha, says it happened around 2017 somewhere in North America.
“It really hurts me because I don’t want to be the reason for the church to split. I had to release the photo to challenge those who have been judging Pastor Steven Mutesasira’s decision to marry another woman,” Pastor Mondo said in a TV appearance.
The photograph surfaced just a day after Pastor Steven Mutesasira (with whom Mutesasira had three children) shared photos of himself tying the knot with his new bride, Judith Nabakooza.
Steven and Julie Mutesasira were once husband and wife, but they divorced in 2016.
Dorothy Amuron, a lawyer and human rights advocate, says under no circumstances could such a marriage have happened in Uganda, where same-sex relationships are criminalized and LGBTQI people are treated as outlaws.
“I am not surprised by the same-sex marriage. I am instead surprised by the negative reactions I have seen on social media” Amuron told this reporter, noting that Ugandans should learn to respect other people’s right to privacy.
Social media networks have been awash with posts and comments largely condemning and cursing Julie Mutesasira.
The person who leaked the photo did not go unscathed. Many questioned the morality behind his decision to leak it, accusing him of betraying the Church.
“You didn’t have to do this just to justify Pastor Stephen’s wedding. If he had wanted to get married, God is a justifier, not man” wrote one Doreen Tetui Bisanga.
Shiva Nakate wrote:
“I don’t think it was the right thing to release the photos. If indeed you preached to her and led her to Christ, then you would carry the burden on your heart to keep praying for her. Though the burden was so heavy on you, it was heaviest on her”.
Because of his divorce, Pastor Mutesasira has not been spared by conservative Christians, who accused him of going against the biblical verse “…what God has joined together, let no one separate”.
This story unfolded about the same time Pope Francis gave a green light to same-sex civil unions, sparking a passionate debate worldwide.
Joto La Jiwe, the author of this article, is a Ugandan correspondent for the African Human Rights Media Network and a member of the Uganda Health and Science Press Association. He writes under a pseudonym.