Obama blasts Ugandan anti-gay bill

Posted by Justin Snow
February 16, 2014 3:30 PM |

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President Barack Obama today blasted a Ugandan anti-gay bill, warning that if enacted the law would complicate the relationship between the United States and the African nation.

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

According to The New York Times, the bill would criminalize "the promotion or recognition" of homosexual relations. Violators of the law face a 14-year prison sentence for a second conviction, and up to life in prison for repeat offenses.

On Friday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said he would sign the bill. 

Read Obama's full statement:

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.

[Photo: Barack Obama. Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.]


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