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: Godwin from: Nigeria
February 25, 2014 8:31 PM
Thank God the roads are open - east, west, north and south. Already China is making serious inroad into the African market without the bottlenecks and strings of the West - Europe and America. Soon Iran will be out of the hooks and noose and will begin to add such humanitarian aid to the exportation of terrorism to Africa - talk about the carrot and cane - a big mouse-trap. Africa is relatively hungry, but it may not be so willing to take all the insults from Europe and America because of a paltry $1.6billion; after all even the money with which some of these countries are bribing the continent is borrowed or a deficit budget that may disappear during another shutdown. So what is so good about it? But thank God for some sane heads like Lindsey Graham, everybody doesn't have to go mad at the same time.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
February 25, 2014 8:14 PM
Enough of this gay issues. We are talking about sex here, not just what you out there want to paint as rights issues. This public debate about sex - whether gay side of it or not - is tantamount to pornography. And if I agree with you that this discussion becomes relevant for open discussion, it will be necessary then to want to know the sexuality of every American in public office. Imagine the irony of a country that cannot stand up to defend thousands of lives being lost in Syria daily in a senseless civil war wants to spend a whole decade defending right to sex. What devil really is in charge of USA that's making use of all the blood spilled everyday; that wants the population of the world reduced by every means available, including through cessation of birth and reproductivity? I have not seen any rational contribution to this matter from USA, which points to everything coming out from the stables and purported domain of humans out there has been engineered in hell. Enough of the open discussion of sex, it is pure pornography; otherwise we should ask Mr. President to start doing it in public to assure us what type of sex he is involved in.

by: Arnulfo Alvarez from: San Antonio tx
February 25, 2014 7:34 PM
County's should work on there own problems they have there's and we have own problems let them be oh well

by: Arnulfo Alvarez from: San Antonio tx
February 25, 2014 7:27 PM
I thought America was the land of the brave it's becoming the land of the gay an the quer Uganda should stick with it's law maybe America will wake up specially the government we have or the people we have in government

by: John from: Bakers Hill W. A.
February 25, 2014 7:14 PM
Hooray for Uganda! Best news I have heard in a decade. I might move there.Praying for you Uganda.

by: Normandy from: Los Angeles
February 25, 2014 5:48 PM
Unfortunately, we must make these nasty dogs heel. All aid from the USA must be stopped. The savages must be taught a lesson.
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