News / USA

US Lawmakers Slam Ugandan Anti-Gay Law

Ugandan anti-gay activist Pastor Martin Ssempa posts public notice offering
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 A Ugandan reads a copy of the "Red Pepper" tabloid newspaper in Kampala, Feb. 25, 2014.
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A Ugandan reads a copy of the
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.

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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.
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