February 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Obama blasts Uganda president over anti-gay bill
Barack Obama, Global AIDS, gay news, Washington Blade

President Obama on Sunday blasted Uganda President Yoweri Museveni over his announcement that he plans to sign his country’s so-called Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. (Washington Blade file photo by Lee Whitman)

President Obama on Sunday sharply criticized Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni after announcing he plans to sign a bill that would impose a life sentence upon anyone found guilty of repeated same-sex sexual acts.

“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda,” said Obama. “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.”

Obama further stressed his administration has “conveyed” to Museveni that “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,” said Obama.

Obama’s statement comes two days after Museveni signaled to Ugandan parliamentarians that he intends to sign the so-called Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Museveni told Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights President Kerry Kennedy, two of her organizations staffers and Archbishop Desmond Tutu during a Jan. 18 meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, that he would reject the “fascist” measure that lawmakers in the East African country approved late last year. The RFK Center said at the time the Ugandan president “promised” the organization during a meeting last March that he would not sign “any bill that discriminates against any individual.”

Uganda is among the more than 70 countries in which homosexuality remains criminalized.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan last month signed a draconian bill into law that bans nuptials for gays and lesbians, same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership in LGBT advocacy groups. Anti-LGBT violence and discrimination in neighboring Cameroon, Zimbabwe and other African countries have also made headlines over the last year.

“When it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally,” said Obama last June during a press conference with Senegalese President Macky Sall that took place in Dakar, Senegal, a day after the U.S. Supreme Court found a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and struck down California’s Proposition 8. “I don’t believe in discrimination of any sort. That’s my personal view. And I speak as somebody who obviously comes from a country in which there were times when people were not treated equally under the law, and we had to fight long and hard through a civil rights struggle to make sure that happens.”

Obama reiterated this sentiment in response to Museveni’s announcement that he plans to sign his country’s Anti-Homosexuality 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,” said Obama. “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.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Mr.President Obama.
    Im a person who lives in the state of Teenasee. The legalatets in Nashville,.TN.,are trying to pass a bill that would allow any person that provides a service to refews to provide a service to any one that is gay or Transgender,or what ever name you want to use. All ready in Kanses,thay have such a bill.and in some other state. Why you Mr.Obama are off visiting some other country,the (Republicans) are meeting hinde closed does and trying to say that gays Trans Bis Lilies or so forth are not egule. Pleas Mr. Obama.,rember when you were just a kid.Or your parents were younger. Rember the sinks. Whites only Blacks only. Rember restronts would say we don't serve blacks.

  • Uganda is a Godly country and not a member of the illuminat. so Please donot scare us with that aid coz you also didnt marry a man.

    • Uganda is a backward country, if you don’t want our aid…good! We have better ways to spend our money. Let your churches make up for it! Further, I hope the decent countries of the world stop offering safaris to your country in response!

  • Mr. President.
    You once said you know Uganda well, but as a person who is a black and a person knowing Uganda well, do you think we can easily let go our lovely, Godly Uganda just because of what you and other people have created against our own culture and will, i love to have sex i hope you do, but why should i love to have positive side of it, i enjoy to look into the eyes of my wife, my mum, my sisters, but not a man in man and women in women. Can u imagine going to Ugandan Introduction of the same sex, imagine hoe long will take Ugandans to build this culture of same sex. wawoo. God Bless Uganda.

  • What this man should know, is we the citizens of Uganda DO NOT NEED men on men or women on women, it is forbidden by the God u ask to save America in the statements you make. Yes we are are poor country and you give us aid, but do not bully us into your nonsense like you bully other countries. we do have a say when it comes to issues concerning our beloved country, we have enough troubles already, please don't break up our country, don't be the cause of civil wars. Let our president make the rules of his country. Note. The bill is not the issue compared to the anger most Ugandan's have when it comes to protecting their children from such bad influence.

    • What’s there to love about Uganda? If your draconian measure becomes law, I hope the decent people of the world stop giving you aid, you want laws like this then foot your own expenses and take care of your damn selves. We don’t need to endorse your BS. Let the churches support you then. I also hope tour companies stop promoting safaris to your country in response!

    • We don’t owe you money! If you take our money, then you need to abide by certain expectations to get it! If you don’t want it fine. Let the churches give you aid then. I hope all the decent countries of the world all cut off your aid if this becomes law and that they stop offering safaris to your country! You should not be rewarded for treating human beings worse than your treat animals!

  • I doubt God exists, but if he does, in the Christian sense, I think he'd be appalled at homophobia and laws such as this. There is no reason to keep people from loving each other; there's little enough of it in this world.

  • But Honestly Mr.Obama do you believe that countries have values they leave for?? why are so much concerned about this wicked act gayism yet your doing nothing in central africa were people are massacring ech other,we are fed up of this double standards….your supporting a man to marry a fellow man ..Mr Obama honestly and you want our chidlren to see that

  • More than five million people are dead in Congo, millions are dying in Sudan and Central African Republic and here is my president tough talking on Africans to change their cultures over night “Good luck”

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