News / USA

    US Lawmakers Slam Ugandan Anti-Gay Law

    Ugandan anti-gay activist Pastor Martin Ssempa posts public notice offering "rehabilitation" for homosexuals, National Theater, Kampala, Feb. 25, 2014.
    Ugandan anti-gay activist Pastor Martin Ssempa posts public notice offering "rehabilitation" for homosexuals, National Theater, Kampala, Feb. 25, 2014.
    Michael Bowman
    Uganda is reaping blistering international criticism and a loss of aid revenue after President Yoweri Museveni signed a law imposing harsh penalties for homosexuality.

    Uganda’s new law mandates punishment of up to life in prison for same-sex relations.

    International reaction has been swift: Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands announced the withholding of more than $20 million in combined aid to Uganda. In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry decried what he called a “tragic day for Uganda” and announced a review of U.S. assistance to the country.

    At the U.S. Capitol, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said the United States cannot ignore the Ugandan law.

    “It is outrageous. It is wrong. And it ought to, and I am sure it will, affect our relations with that country," he said, calling the law of a violation of human rights.

    A Ugandan reads a copy of the "Red Pepper" tabloid newspaper in Kampala, Feb. 25, 2014.A Ugandan reads a copy of the "Red Pepper" tabloid newspaper in Kampala, Feb. 25, 2014.
    x
    A Ugandan reads a copy of the "Red Pepper" tabloid newspaper in Kampala, Feb. 25, 2014.
    A Ugandan reads a copy of the "Red Pepper" tabloid newspaper in Kampala, Feb. 25, 2014.
    Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia said he is appalled that, in the wake of the signing of the law, a Ugandan newspaper published a long list of names of suspected gay people in the country.

    “I am very troubled by this," Kaine said. "And I think the United States needs to seriously explore every lever we have at our disposal to get [Uganda] to back away from this policy. And if they will not back away — and they are a sovereign nation and they can make their own decision — it means that we need to reexamine any program we have that is supportive of a government that would embrace those kinds of policies.”

    That review is already under way, according to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

    “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.”

    Uganda is not backing down. President Museveni called gay people “disgusting” and described the law as a rejection of Western attempts to impose its social values on Africa.

    Not all U.S. lawmakers are speaking out against Uganda’s punishment of homosexuality. Asked if he had any reaction to the law, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham simply said “no.” When pressed by reporters, Graham expressed misgivings about interrupting aid to Uganda.

    “Africa is a continent in peril," the South Carolina senator said. "The problems in Uganda with AIDS and, you know, kids starving: Do we deny economic aid to the developing world in Africa, which could be an ally, over an issue like this? I am not so sure that is the right answer."

    According to global-humanitarian-assistance.org, Uganda receives $1.6 billion in total yearly foreign assistance. The United States is the country’s largest donor.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: Timothy from: uganda
    March 04, 2014 4:22 AM
    When the government is harassing and torturing its citizens in opposition.Where is the US?When opposition leaders are hit with hammers and pepper sprayed and bandled on the back of pick ups?Where is Obama?snoozing!!!.When they enact public order management bill to prevent freedom of assembly and expresion.Where are those senators?.American leaders are a bunch of hypocrites.Guantanamo bay.-Hello.torturing innocent moslems in defence of you values and people without trial.dont they have rights too.defending Israel at all costs.Poor palestineans.Riding on the back of your military and financial might to impose values and customs on people.How is iraq and afghanistan.maybe libya is all good.God help us
    In Response

    by: Susan Fox from: Denver
    March 14, 2014 8:02 PM
    Good for you Timothy! I have met Ugandan people on Twitter and they are genuinely hurt by response of the US. Liberal US and European hypocrites are mocking them for their position, and that fact -- that the American people applaud what they are doing is totally lost in the translation. God bless you. Susan Fox www.christsfaithfulwitness.com

    by: Guridy from: Virginia
    March 03, 2014 9:08 AM
    Good for Uganda. It is sad to see how Tim Kaine and so many so called Americans, can attack Uganda's anti gay stance based on the reasons they see as hurting the Ugandan population. Has anyone bothered to see the numbers of HIV deaths due to homosexual sex, dirty needles and blood transfusions? We need leaders to take back America from the 2% of queer bullies in our own country.

    by: paschn from: U.S.
    March 02, 2014 9:00 AM
    500 military actions in less than 250 years, 700 combat ready bases on foreign soil to keep their puppets safe and foreign resources/markets open to their corporations and the poison they sell, 10.5 million jobs sent elsewhere while their own people languish in the latest central Bank contrived depression, invade/slaughter/murder seated heads of state, (then laugh/joke about it publicly), allow perverted materials to be used in their elementary schools, ruin nation after nation with depleted uranium munitions, causing mutilated little "freaks" and rampant cancers for generations, (not to mention the ruining of their land for centuries), shredding their own constitution which allows them to arrest, hold w/o trial, confiscate assets, (NDAA, no more Posse Comitatus/Habeas Corpus), use of unmanned drones to murder your own citizens w/o trial on foreign soil along with any innocent locals too close. Yes, we definitely need the U.S. to police the morals/laws/constitutions of all nations. With fewer than 5% of their own "cultural experts" holding a passport.... Pardon me while I laugh myself wet.

    by: Eric Helmey from: United States
    March 01, 2014 9:09 AM
    If Uganda is a God fearing country then let God be the judge. Do unto other's as you would have them do unto you. I am not gay but I will not force my will upon others. What is disgusting is that an entire nation will inspire hate and intolerance. We should not support a country that discriminates against any group of people. And we should oust any of our leaders in this country who does not speak out against such tyranny, including Lindsay Graham, because they do not reflect this countries view's on equality.

    by: W.Denis from: Kampala
    February 27, 2014 11:24 AM
    Thumb-up Yoweri Museveni.We Africans have our values we collectively stand for.Uganda is a God fearing country.

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    February 27, 2014 3:30 AM
    Now I am sure what needed for western countries is not to slam but to teach Ugandan president, lawmakers and ordinary people patiently to be able to accept homosexuals rationally.

    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    February 27, 2014 2:47 AM
    This is the combined work of Muslim fanatics and Christian lunatics rallying behind laws condemning gays and girls with mini skirts, but there's no religious edict condemning avarice, corruptions and dictatorship in Africa. Well, Africa is starving continent and GOD is not coming down to our aide. Without Western financial support Uganda will soon be collapsed.

    by: Dan Wainaina from: Kenya
    February 26, 2014 11:07 AM
    I Am suprised by great extent the human race have fallen and separated from the God who made them, Alright, this is a modern world, but the God of the ancient never changed today and forever, I believe that everyone is familiar with what hapened to the bibilical Sodom and Gomorah. Today we see with our own eyes the dramatic efects of what it means to as the anger(wrath) of God. Please our dear honourables revew your status on this.

    by: sopani sichinga from: malawi
    February 26, 2014 7:54 AM
    I really support Museveni for the action taken. They should not intimidate Africa by saying they will stop aiding. Africa is different from any other continent.

    by: njoroge ruhari from: juba. South Sudan
    February 25, 2014 11:58 PM
    did Uganda came to ask for aid from Usa, or it is the Usa who saw it well to help them. Let Uganda make their own decisions please.
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora