Earlier today Uganda’s President signed into law a controversial anti-gay bill that punishes certain homosexual acts with up to life in prison.
President Yoweri Museveni’s decision to sign the bill was met with harsh criticism from the West. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry denounced the new law, saying:
This is a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights. Ultimately, the only answer is repeal of this law.
The United States is deeply disappointed in the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. For the four years since the bill was introduced, we have been crystal clear that it blatantly violates human rights obligations that Uganda’s Human Rights Commission itself has recognized are enshrined in Uganda’s Constitution.
Today’s signing threatens a dangerous slide backward in Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and a serious threat to the LGBT community in Uganda.”
Religious leaders have also spoken out against the anti-gay bill. Last week, Desmond Tutu issued the following statement when President Museveni was still considering whether or not he would sign the bill into law:
When President Museveni and I spoke last month, he gave his word that he would not let the anti-homosexuality bill become law in Uganda. I was therefore very disheartened to hear last week that President Museveni was reconsidering his position….We must be entirely clear about this: the history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste, and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only the grace of God. There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral justification. Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, among others, attest to these facts.”
President Museveni said the bill will go into affect immediately. It was passed by Uganda’s parliament in December 2013 after the punishment for “aggravated homosexuality” was altered from the death penalty to life in prison. The penalty for first-time offenders is 14 years in prison. Amnesty International called the bill, “a draconian and damaging piece of legislation.”
Despite the immense backlash from the West, President Museveni doesn’t appear worried. In an interview with CNN, Museveni asked for the West to “respect African societies and their values.” Responding to the question, “Do you personally dislike homosexuals?” the President made his stance quite clear, “Of course. They are disgusting…”
Please join RLC in praying for the LGBT community of Uganda as this bill undoubtedly pushes them further underground and places them in more danger then they already are. Today is a sad day for LGBT rights.