Uganda's anti-gay bill becomes law

KAMPALA - Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law Monday a bill that criminalizes homosexuality.

Museveni had gone back and forth about the controversial bill.

Last month, Museveni said he wouldn't sign the bill, describing homosexuals as "sick" people who needed help, not imprisonment.

Then he backtracked this month and said he'd sign it because scientists had determined that there's no gene for homosexuality and it was merely abnormal behavior.

Then, last week, he said he would seek advice from American scientists before he made any decision.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda. The law toughens the penalties, including life imprisonment for certain acts.

Museveni said that Ugandan scientists had determined there was no gene for homosexuality.

"It was learned and could be unlearned," he said.

Shortly after his announcement, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that enacting the bill would affect relations between the two nations. He described the proposal as an "affront and a danger to the gay community" in Uganda.

The United States and Britain are among the nation's largest donors.

Placating Western donors

Then, in what appeared to be a move to placate Western donors, Museveni said he would seek extended guidance.

In a statement last week, he said U.S. scientists sent him opinions indicating "homosexuality could be congenital."

"I therefore encourage the U.S. government to help us by working with our scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual," Museveni said. "When that is proved, we can review this legislation."

A Ugandan lawmaker first introduced the bill in 2009 with a death penalty clause for some homosexual acts. It was briefly shelved when Britain and other European nations threatened to withdraw aid to Uganda, which relies on millions of dollars from the international community.

The nation's parliament passed the bill in December, replacing the death penalty provision with a proposal of life in prison for "aggravated homosexuality." This includes acts where one person is infected with HIV, "serial offenders" and sex with minors, Amnesty International said.

The bill also proposed years in prison for anyone who counsels or reaches out to gays and lesbians, a provision that would ensnare rights groups and others providing services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Homosexuality is illegal in 38 African countries, where most sodomy laws were introduced during colonialism. In Uganda, homosexual acts are punishable by 14 years to life in prison.

But lawmakers in the conservative nation have sought tougher legislation, saying the influence of Western lifestyles risks destroying family units.

Rights groups worldwide have condemned the bill as draconian.

Comments (8)

Museveni is right.God bless you.

cde - 24 February 2014

Hurray! Hurray! congrats. we are pround of you Mr President. Thats a might move you are a man. Dont be intimidated.

Cde - 25 February 2014

You are on God's side President. They can keep their money.Devils!! Son of a Prophet

abraham mwambe - 25 February 2014

who are yu barrack obama before GOD yu are just a vessel whch is just being used by satan simply because of money, i wonder why your money is return in GOD WE TRUST ,yet yu deny him thru your works(keep your money and let the UGANDIAN ppl keep their decency and trust in GOD ALMIGHTY ),yu ar ar not GOD ,i m sure the obamas know verily tht they belong to hell and they dnt wnt to go alone ,they need to win more spirits tht they may go together ,dnt be intimidated, (1corr6 and 1corr7) a man shld find himself a wife vice vesa wth a woman she shld find herslf a woman who has control over her body and also wth man the bible says a woman has control over a man's body, so who is insane here, is it GOD ,or yu homoz ,GOD created adam and eve and he said this is good , so because of foolishness yu think GOD is wrong, remember the word of GOD in Romans 1 v 22 in them professing to be wise they became fools.

mr ibu - 25 February 2014

who are yu barrack obama before GOD yu are just a vessel whch is just being used by satan simply because of money, i wonder why your money is written in GOD WE TRUST ,yet yu deny him thru your works(keep your money and let the UGANDIAN ppl keep their decency and trust in GOD ALMIGHTY ),yu ar ar not GOD ,i m sure the obamas know verily tht they belong to hell and they dnt wnt to go alone ,they need to win more souls tht they may go together ,dnt be intimidated, (1corr6 and 1corr7) a man shld find himself a wife vice vesa wth a woman she shld find herslf a husband who has control over her body and also wth man the bible says a woman has control over a man's body, so who is insane here, is it GOD ,or yu homoz ,GOD created adam and eve and he said this is good , so because of foolishness yu think GOD is wrong, remember the word of GOD in Romans 1 v 22 in them professing to be wise they became fools.

mr ibu - 25 February 2014

Dei vaumbi vemitemo yemuno vachingotora mutemo uyu sezvauri. Pasi nengochani nengochanikadzi dzeGALS

Huona dzavamwe - 25 February 2014

tthats correct mr president our being will finished by this evil western influence. god is not stupid to create humans of different sex with different functions in replanishing the earth. god will stand with you since you chose to stand with him .

isaac mhukahuru - 26 February 2014

Cue the bible thumpers. What has homosexuality got to do with God? The same bible you worship also talks about fornication and people who steal other people's wives (esp when theirs is on a death bed and they are frolicking with secretaries at state house). Take god out of it. Why is it so important what 2 consenting adults do in the secrecy of their abode? We have more important issues: water, electricity, schools, medicines, jobs. Focus on that.

Moe_Sycslak - 26 February 2014

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