News / USA

White House: Uganda Takes Step Backward by Signing Gay Legislation

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signs a new anti-gay bill that sets harsh penalties for homosexual sex, in Entebbe, Uganda, Feb. 24, 2014.
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signs a new anti-gay bill that sets harsh penalties for homosexual sex, in Entebbe, Uganda, Feb. 24, 2014.
ReutersVOA News
The White House sharply criticized Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday for signing legislation that imposes harsh penalties for homosexuality, calling it a step backward.
 
The new law strengthened existing punishments for anyone caught having gay sex, imposing jail terms of up to life for “aggravated homosexuality,” including sex with a minor or while HIV positive.
 
“Instead of standing on the side of freedom, justice, and equal rights for its people, today, regrettably, Ugandan President Museveni took Uganda a step backward by signing into law legislation criminalizing homosexuality,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
 
His statement did not say whether U.S. assistance to Uganda would be suspended. An official said last week aid would be reviewed if Museveni signed the law. Washington is one of Uganda's largest foreign donors, with assistance of more than $400 million annually in recent years.
 
Carney said the law was an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda and reflects poorly on the country's commitment to protect the human rights of the Ugandan people.
 
“We will continue to urge the Ugandan government to repeal this abhorrent law and to advocate for the protection of the universal human rights of LGBT persons in Uganda and around the world,” he said.

A State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States is reviewing its relationship with Uganda as a consequence of the new law.

"Now that this 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 Psaki.

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.

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by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
February 28, 2014 6:17 AM
We don't have problem with gay people. As God creatures, it is their right to live. What we are saying you cannot imposed your will on the rest of the world. Mr. Obama is the first President in the history of America to openly accept same sex marriage. This man has made America weak to the outside world, he has demoralized America. and he and secretary Kerry trying hard to spread their gay message in Africa and around the world. America has lot of issue on her agenda then of gay marriage. His Obama care is not working, his democratic colleagues are ashamed of his Obama care, He has lot on his plate right now. This nation was built on a Christian value, and we still stand for what our fore father stood for. America should have been the voice of God on the earth, instead they are advocating for satan. If Mr. Obama was to bring about change in the world, he needs to stand up to Russia.

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
February 28, 2014 4:54 AM
The US, EU and the world bank are on the human wrong side. and Mr. Museveni is the father of human right. The problem here is the majority of the people in the US, EU and the world Bank, people that hold key positions in the hierarchy are all gays. so what do you expect?
The US, and the EU wants to advocate for human right, but afraid of Syria, Russia and Iran. Those people are killing their own people, suppressing them, and the so call western world sitting there and doing nothing.
Mr Obama, few months sat on the national and international TV and say to the world, if Syria crosses the redline, they will face justice, Syria did. what did Mr. Obama do? nothing, he was bluffing. He sat there and denied that he never said so. He scare of Russia and Iran, But not Museveni,hahahaha
The former Ukrainian President committed atrocities against his people and sitting in Russia, Why the father of so call human right, Mr. Barrack Hussein Obama cannot go and arrest him? We need justice for the Ukrainian people.

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
February 25, 2014 3:54 AM
If US suspends the $ 400 million aid, only the common people will surely continue to suffer. Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for more than 27 years has accumulated enough money and stashed it in off shore accounts. He will remain rich for the rest of his life.

by: KS from: Boston
February 24, 2014 3:19 PM
I think aid should be suspended. It is difficult line to straddle claiming support and advocate for human rights while providing and to governments that so clearly eschew the same. Moreover, Museveni challenged the West - particularly the USA - when be asked that Uganda be left alone. So be it. Be careful what you wish for, Mr. President.
In Response

by: Jim from: Oregon State
February 25, 2014 6:50 PM
Yup! America should be the new world dictator, even on moral issues. Hey America! Lets make pedophilia legal here in the US. Then we could bash most countries. Now that I think about it, what about all those bible believers in the south. Lets kick those states out of the union. Wait a-minute. I forgot, America is a free country. Ooops. I forgot. Obama is President. So if it's his way, you are free. But the constitution gives us freedom of religion. The Bible says gay activity is wrong. Oooooh I can see it coming. Time to make following the Bible illegal. I don't think American can sing 'God Bless America' anymore.

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