January 13, 2010 | by Chris Johnson
U.S. commission to hold hearing on anti-gay Uganda bill

A congressional commission next week will hear testimony on the harshly anti-gay bill pending in the Uganda parliament, DC Agenda has learned.

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission has scheduled a hearing on the Uganda legislation for Jan. 21 at 2 pm. Lawmakers will hear testimony in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Chairing the hearing will be Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the only out lesbian in Congress and member of the commission’s executive committee.

It was unclear at the time of this posting who would serve as witnesses at the hearing.

Homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda, but the pending legislation would, among other things, institute the death penalty for repeat offenders of the homosexual acts ban and those who have homosexual sex while HIV positive.

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is charged with promoting public awareness and developing strategies for Congress on human rights issues.

UPDATE: In a statement Friday, the commission announced the scheduled witnesses. For the first panel, the commission has invited a representative from the U.S. State Department. For the second panel, the scheduled witnesses are Julius Kaggwa of Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, Uganda; Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission; Kapya Kaoma, a project director for Political Research Associates; and Christine Lubinski, executive director of the HIV Medicine Association.

UPDATE: In a statement Monday, the commission announced it had changed the room for the hearing to Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The announcement also said Karl Wycoff, deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of African Affairs, is scheduled to testify.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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