Obama condemns Uganda’s ‘Anti-Homsexuality’ billAround the World, Online Only, Top Highlights Monday, February 17th, 2014
President Obama has condemned the decision by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni to sign an archaic anti-gay bill into law. The bill, which once even included the death penalty, calls for gay Ugandans or anyone “promoting” homosexuality to be jailed – potentially for life. Museveni made the decision to sign the bill after consulting with a panel of “medical experts.” The co-chair of that panel has publicly claimed that being gay “is just deviant behavior. It can be learned, and it can be unlearned.”
In a statement issued Sunday the president said,
As a country and a people, the United States has consistently stood for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights. We believe that people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love.
That is why I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people. It also will mark a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights.
As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda. At a time when, tragically, we are seeing an increase in reports of violence and harassment targeting members of the LGBT community from Russia to Nigeria, I salute all those in Uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said, “Unless this bill is stopped from becoming law, lives will be destroyed, and countless people will be punished for an immutable characteristic. Anti-LGBT Americans advocated for laws further criminalizing LGBT people in Uganda, and it looks like they are now getting their wish. Whether it’s Brian Brown advocating for anti-LGBT laws in Russia or Scott Lively calling for the further criminalization of LGBT people in Uganda, anti-LGBT Americans must stop exporting their hate abroad.”
HRC revealed that chief among the American extremists whipping up the hatred fueling this legislation are Scott Lively and the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. Two months ago, Fischer tweeted in support of the Ugandan bill and called for making “homosexuality contrary to public policy. It can be done.” Fischer has even defended Scott Lively’s direct involvement in Uganda, insisting he was simply standing up for “natural marriage.”
Scott Lively’s 2009 visit to Uganda is currently the subject of a lawsuit in Massachusetts in which he stands accused of committing crimes against humanity for inspiring hatred and violence towards gay people. In addition to his efforts in Uganda, Lively also claims to be one of the masterminds behind Russia’s brutal crackdowns on the civil rights of LGBT people. Lively’s fringe views, which include blaming the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide on gay people, are rejected by reasonably thinking Americans.
The idea that being gay is “deviant” and something which can be “unlearned” is not only harmful, but scientifically inaccurate. While many extremist organizations continue to promote the idea that someone can change their sexual orientation, the nation’s leading medical organizations have spoken out against such practices precisely because of their inherent harm. Those organizations include the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
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