NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Former U.S. ambassador to the United States John Bolton said on Thursday he opposes recently passed anti-gay laws in Uganda and Nigeria, extending bipartisan opposition to measures already condemned by the Obama administration.
Bolton spoke briefly about the laws when asked for his thoughts by the Washington Blade in the halls of the Gaylord Convention Center during the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference.
“Well, I’m opposed to them, but I’m not in the middle of an interview,” Bolton said before walking off.
The Nigeria law makes entering into a same-sex marriage or civil union punishable by up to 14 years in prison, and membership in an LGBT organization is punishable with jail time of up to 10 years. The Uganda law makes certain homosexual acts punishable with life in prison in addition to making illegal not reporting gay people to the police.
Although Bolton, who served as U.S. envoy to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, is viewed as a conservative, he’s taken a strong stand in favor of gay rights. Last year, he told the National Review he supports marriage equality “at both the state level and the federal level.”
“Gay marriage is something I’ve thought about at length as I’ve looked at my future,” Bolton was quoted as saying. “I concluded, a couple years ago, that I think it should be permissible and treated the same at both levels.”
During his speech at CPAC, Bolton lambasted President Obama for his foreign policy, calling him “our biggest national security crisis.”
“We can and must replace the Obama/Clinton/Kerry/Biden doctrine,” he said. “That is the key to success this November and in 2016 and that is the key to ensuring America’s freedom and security in the years ahead.”
As the National Review noted, Bolton is considered a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016.
Mark Bromley, chair of the pro-LGBT Council for Global Equality, praised Bolton for speaking out against the anti-gay laws.
“I think this shows that even conservative Republicans have come to see anti-gay legislation in countries like Uganda, Nigeria and Russia as an affront to fundamental rights and democratic societies,” Bromley said. “I hope they will explain their views to U.S. audiences that still don’t fully understand the extent to which anti-LGBT campaigns overseas serve to embolden foreign dictators who are likely to oppose broader U.S. global interests.”