Uganda‘s president has signed a controversial law allowing those convicted of homosexuality to be imprisoned for life, defying international disapproval from western donor nations.
At a public ceremony in a packed room at the State House in Entebbe,Yoweri Museveni formally initialled the anti-homosexuality act, which also outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires citizens to denounce to the police anyone suspected of being gay. “No study has shown you can be homosexual by nature. That’s why I have agreed to sign the bill,” Museveni said in a speech at the presidential palace near the capital, Kampala.
“Outsiders cannot dictate to us. This is our country. I advise friends from the west not to make this an issue, because if they make it an issue the more they will lose. If the west does not want to work with us because of homosexuals, then we have enough space to ourselves here.”
Supporters clapped during the press conference. One MP sitting at a white table in the front row, said: “I hope the Obamas are receiving it live, Desmond Tutu, Cameron … [Museveni] has resisted them.” The ethics and integrity minister, Simon Lokodo, said: “I feel very fulfilled, very elated, because at last my head of state has pronounced it on behalf of the entire nation, Uganda, that this is a bill that was worth putting in place.”
David Bahati, the MP who introduced the bill, added: “This is a victory for the family of Uganda, a victory for the future of our children…”
The US announced on Monday night that it would begin an internal review of its relationship with Uganda’s government, including assistance programmes. Barack Obama had warned Museveni that ties between Kampala and Washington would be damaged if the bill was passed.
The British foreign secretary, William Hague, said: “I am deeply saddened and disappointed that the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda has been signed into law. The UK strongly opposes all discrimination on any grounds. “We question the [law’s] compatibility with Uganda’s constitution and international treaty obligations. There can be no doubt that [it] will increase persecution and discrimination of Ugandans, as well as damage Uganda’s reputation internationally.We ask the government of Uganda to protect all its citizens and encourage tolerance, equality and respect.”
Museveni, a key African ally of the US and the EU, had already come under fire from western donors for alleged corruption and had been under increasing pressure to block the legislation.
The anti-homosexuality bill passed through parliament in December after its architects agreed to drop a death penalty clause. The legislation requires those found guilty of repeat homosexuality to be jailed for life.
The South African Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu said at the weekend that the law recalled attempts by the Nazi and apartheid regimes to “legislate against love”. Amnesty International called the bill a “horrific expansion of state-sanctioned homophobia”.
Homophobia, supported by many US-funded evangelical Christians, has become more virulent in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. In 2011, a prominent Ugandan gay rights campaigner, David Kato, was bludgeoned to death at his home after a newspaper splashed photos, names and addresses of gay people in Uganda on its front page along with a yellow banner reading “Hang Them”.
This month Museveni, a devout evangelical Christian, also signed into law dress code legislation that outlaws “provocative” clothing, bans scantily-clad performers from appearing on Ugandan television and closely monitors what individuals view on the internet.
A coalition of UK gay rights groups and charities has written to the Foreign Office calling on Britain to withdraw its high commissioner in Kampala.
Jonathan Cooper, chief executive of the Human Dignity Trust and one of those who signed the letter, said: “[This] law promises to tyrannise the lives of the Ugandan lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. This is a huge blow for anyone who values basic human rights. This bleak situation will have an immediate effect on countries like the UK, the rest of the EU, Canada and US, as people flee and seek sanctuary.”
The U.S. Ambassador to Uganda has in an interview with the BBC expressed a passionate condemnation of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality law.
Hear his interview below, where US ambassador to Uganda, Scott DeLisi, tells #BBCNewsday Uganda should repeal its new anti-gay law and notes for the record, the United States will bar all haters from receiving visas to the United States, noting that those who promulgate hate and incite violence are not wanted in the United States.
He also speaks gravely of the Red Pepper article which suggests the lynching of LGBT people in Uganda through their names and pictures being outed in the widely read Tabloid. Read more http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2014/02/25/ugandan-red-pepper-editors-and-staff-wanted-as-official-persecutors-of-gays/
He also talks about U.S. AID and the now complex situation the Uganda American partnership finds itself in. This interview illustrates how insidious this legislation is and how it has complicated the partnership between Uganda and the USA. Hon. DeLisi notes that the U.S. needs to understand the law and the way the Uganda will act on the law.
$720 million per year is at stake for Uganda. He said that when he hears a Government say we don’t need “your AID” and “it is not of value to us,” then the Ambassador noted, “I ask you to go ask the children we are saving if it matters to them and their families?”
–From the Guardian online site
I am a spiritual person, as most of you probably realize. There are many types of love in this world. We all love many people in many different ways. Love is nothing to fear. It is not a reason to hurt or treat human beings badly. Homosexuality is not learned. Straight parents give birth to homosexual children. Homosexual women give birth to straight kids. So I do not understand conservatives thinking it is worse to love someone of the same sex, than to be a pedophile, rapist or molester; those acts contain no love, and are formed in evil, rage, pain and hatred. Loving someone of the same sex is still loving.
Each of us has a soul. This is the foundation for my thinking. I have studied all the major religions and I have never seen a word about any human being having a gender specific soul. They don’t come in pink ruffles or blue sailor suits. Souls just love. Souls love other souls. There is no gender to a soul. The only part of us that is gender specific is our bodies. Souls aren’t part of our bodies, they are the part of us that Divinity resides in. The Soul is the part of us that can recognize a miracle. It is the part of us that goes back to the Beloved at the end of our lives on this plane of existence. It returns with the memories and the love we have found here.
The last point I want to make, is that there have been homosexuals since the beginning of time. Why? They were born that way. They have lived in every culture and time in human existence. They have been within every religion, every school of thought. Sometimes they have been accepted and sometimes they have been hated. If people in all the countries of the world would take the anger and hatred and violence they keep spewing out at the world and use it for good, the good they say they believe in, this world would lack the horrific problems that we face each day of our lives.
May the love of god/goddess fill all of us and may it heal the destructiveness that humans have brought into the world.