The White House issued a statement on behalf of the President Barack Obama warning Uganda’s President Yoweri Musuveni against enacting the anti-gay law, which was passed by the Ugandan parliament in December 2013.
The legislative branch of Ugandan government adopted the bill after years of controversy. The bill, if enacted, will punish certain acts of homosexuality with life in prison. The draft law was introduced in 2009 but was retracted soon after the international community condemned the government for extreme measures Uganda thought to apply to the convicted homosexuals, including the death penalty.
According to the Ugandan politicians, the main concerns are related to the spreading HIV virus and pedophilia cases. As crazy as it sounds, the law would also incriminate those who failed to report gay people. The punishment also spreads to those who are not homosexuals but would be caught promoting homosexuality.
European nations, in some of which same-sex marriage is allowed, and which are a great source of financial and humanitarian aid to Uganda have been speaking against Uganda’s move to punish homosexuals. The United States is one of the country’s foreign assistance donors and have helped its government with military missions against the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army. If the relationship is damaged by this bill, the U.S. government may cease the financial help, let alone the political support to Ugandan government, which is of a major concern to Kampala.
Statement by the President on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda (White House):
“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.”