January 22, 2010 at 2:57 am EST | by Chris Johnson
Congressional commission reviews Uganda’s anti-gay bill

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) (DC Agenda photo by Michael Key)

WASHINGTON — A congressional commission Thursday heard testimony on the harshly anti-gay bill pending in the Uganda parliament, a development that occurred after DC Agenda went to press.

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission had scheduled a hearing on the Uganda legislation for Jan. 21 at 2 pm. Lawmakers heard testimony in the Rayburn House Office Building.

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

Witnesses scheduled to appear included: Julius Kaggwa of the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights & 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. A representative from the U.S. State Department also was invited to attend.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, but 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.

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

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