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Obama Condemns Anti-Gay Bill in Uganda

U.S. President Barack Obama has sharply criticized an anti-gay bill in Uganda that would impose the death penalty in some cases.

Speaking Thursday, President Obama described the measure as "odious." He said that while people may disagree about gay marriage, it is "unconscionable" to target gays and lesbians in a dehumanizing way.

Mr. Obama made the remarks during a prayer breakfast in Washington hosted by an evangelical group known as "The Family."

Ugandan politician David Bahati, who activists say is a member of The Family, proposed the controversial legislation.

Earlier this week, a group of 200 U.S. lawmakers introduced a resolution condemning the proposal in Uganda, saying it would set a troubling precedent.

Supporters of the measure in Uganda have dismissed the outside criticism as a new form of colonialism.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni recently said the bill has become a "foreign policy" issue. He has urged lawmakers to craft a measure that takes into account both Uganda's principles and its foreign policy interests.

Anti-gay measures have emerged across east African countries in recent months. Burundi criminalized homosexuality, and Rwanda is debating an anti-gay bill that criminalizes homosexual behavior and active support for gay causes.

Kenya and Tanzania already have anti-gay laws that gay activists fear could be expanded.