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.
x
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.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
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.
Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs