We told you over the weekend that, satisfied by a report that homosexuality was a behavior and not genetic, the President of Uganda planned to sign the country’s anti-homosexuality bill, which no longer calls for the death penalty for homosexuality, but merely life imprisonment. Yesterday the White House and President Obama issued a statement on the decision to sign the bill into law.
As a country and a people, the United States has consistently stood for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights. We believe that people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love.
That is why I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people. It also will mark a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights.
As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda. At a time when, tragically, we are seeing an increase in reports of violence and harassment targeting members of the LGBT community from Russia to Nigeria, I salute all those in Uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons.
Now the question remains whether the bill will affect foreign aid or relations between the United States and Uganda, but it’s heartening that we’re hearing about it from the President of the United States.
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