Ugandan President Signs Anti-Gay Bill That U.S. Evangelicals Helped Write Into Law
The President of Uganda has signed into law a bill that places severe criminal penalties on homosexuals:
LONDON — Brushing aside Western threats and outrage, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda significantly strengthened Africa’s antigay movement on Monday, signing into law a bill imposing harsh sentences for homosexual acts, including life imprisonment in some cases, according to government officials.
The move came weeks after Mr. Museveni’s Nigerian counterpart, Goodluck Jonathan, took similar steps in his own country, threatening offenders with 14-year prison terms. The Ugandan law seemed even tougher, threatening life terms on charges including “aggravated homosexuality,” meaning homosexual acts with a minor, a disabled person or someone infected wth HIV.
“We Africans never seek to impose our view on others. If only they could let us alone,” Mr. Museveni said, according to The Associated Press, alluding to Western pressure to reject the bill.
While Western gay-rights campaigners have accused American evangelical Christian groups of promoting antigay sentiment in Uganda, Mr. Museveni accused “arrogant and careless Western groups” of seeking to draw Ugandan children into homosexuality.
The Ugandan government spokesman, Ofwono Opondo, said Mr. Museveni wanted to sign the bill “with the full witness of the international media to demonstrate Uganda’s independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation.” Mr. Opondo announced on Twitter that Mr. Museveni had signed the bill, which drew condemnation from rights groups and Ugandan activists.
“It’s a gloomy day, not just for the gay community in Uganda but for all Ugandans who care about human rights, because this law will affect everybody,” Julian Peppe Onziema, an advocate for gay rights in Uganda, told Reuters.
The country’s Parliament approved the law in December, saying it was aimed “at strengthening the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family.”
Later that month, Mr. Museveni wrote a letter to Parliament saying that lawmakers had made procedural errors in passing the bill and that an in-depth study was needed before it could be taken up again. Mr. Museveni said at the time that he would seek further expert opinions.
But this month, Mr. Museveni shifted position and said he would sign the bill, apparently bowing to strong conservative opinion among Ugandans. Gay-rights activists in Uganda have vowed to oppose the legislation, which could jeopardize hundreds of millions of dollars in crucial Western development aid.
The Ugandan law follows in the footsteps of a similar punitive law that recently went into effect in Nigeria, the most populated nation in Africa, as well as others in effect throughout the continent, where virtually all nations have bans of some kind on same-sex relationships. The dirty little secret about the Ugandan bill, though, is that it comes from the same people opposing equality for gays and lesbians here in the United States:
U.S. evangelical Christian sects active in Uganda helped compose a draconian bill that punishes homosexual acts with life imprisonment and lengthy prison terms for those who associate with gays.
Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda under colonial-era laws against “crimes against nature.” But David Bahati, a devout Christian and the member of Uganda’s parliament responsible for the ‘Kill the Gays’ bill and its current incarnation, has argued that stricter anti-gay laws are needed to protect Uganda from the damaging influence of Western liberalism.“This is a piece of legislation that is needed in this country to protect the traditional family here in Africa,” Bahati said.Bahati is a member of “The Family,” also known as “The Fellowship,” a secretive and powerful U.S.-based evangelical sect that has been sending money and missionaries to African nations, including Uganda, to promote anti-gay public sentiment and legislation. According to Ralph Stone of the San Francisco-based Fog City Journal, “the Family and other anti-gay groups have long viewed Uganda as a laboratory to experiment with Christian theocracy.”“Protecting children” is a common theme used by anti-gay Ugandan political and Christian leaders to justify violence against gays, even though there is no evidence of gay criminals targeting children in the country at a higher rate than heterosexual child predators. Still, Bahati claims the new bill is necessary to “defend our culture and defend the future of our children.”
NPR reports the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was written with the help of U.S. evangelical Christians with “close ties” to the Ugandan lawmakers who are pushing for its passage. Chief among these Americans is Scott Lively, a Massachusetts-based evangelical facing a U.S. lawsuit filed by Ugandan gays under the Alien Tort Statute, which allows foreigners to sue in U.S. courts for human rights violations committed abroad.
“There are those factions of the evangelical community in the U.S. that believe they’ve more or less lost the fight against the homosexual agenda,” Malika Zouhali Worrall, co-director of a documentary film called “Call Me Kuchu” (queer), told NPR. “Therefore, they’re trying to pre-empt it in other countries.”.
Isn’t it enough for them to try to ruin the country they were born in, now they have to ruin foreign nati0ns?