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Ugandan Newspaper Lists 'Top Homosexuals'

  • VOA News

A Ugandan reads a copy of the "Red Pepper" tabloid newspaper in Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 25, 2014.

A Ugandan reads a copy of the "Red Pepper" tabloid newspaper in Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 25, 2014.

A newspaper in Uganda has published a list of what it calls the country's top homosexuals, a day after the president signed a new anti-gay law.

The Red Pepper tabloid published the list of 200 names and several photos under a large headline that read, "Exposed!"

Ugandan gays have voiced worry about being arrested under the new law, which strengthens punishment for gay sex and bans the so-called "promotion" of homosexuality.

The United States is urging Uganda to repeal the measure. The White House calls it an affront and a danger to Ugandan gays that also will hamper the fight against AIDS.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the U.S. is reviewing its relationship with Uganda because of the law.

President Yoweri Museveni defended the bill at Monday's signing ceremony, saying groups are trying to recruit young Ugandans into a gay lifestyle. He said no study shows that people are born gay.

A number of scientists, however, say a person's sexuality is genetic and determined before birth, and that no one can be talked into becoming homo- or heterosexual.

Museveni has the backing of conservative Ugandan groups. Last week, the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council praised the president as "courageous" for defying Western pressure over the bill and, in the council's words, "putting morality first."

The Ugandan parliament passed the law in December. First-time offenders face a 14-year sentence. Those convicted of what the law terms "aggravated homosexuality" could go to prison for life. The law originally called for the death penalty in some cases, but that was dropped as Western nations and rights groups denounced the bill.

Homosexuality is illegal in 37 African nations and a taboo subject across many parts of the continent. Activists say few Africans are able to be openly gay.

"Now that the law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values," said State Department spokeswoman Psaki.

"No study has shown that you can be homosexual purely by nature. Since nurture is the main cause of homosexuality, then society can do something about it to discourage the trends. That is why I have agreed to sign the bill," said Museveni.

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