Uganda president Yoweri Museveni signs anti-gay bill, world leaders, homosexuals protest

Feb 26 2014, 12:48 IST
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SummaryA look at global reactions after Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed an anti-gay bill that calls for harsh penalties, including 14 years in jail for first-time offenders, and life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for, among other offenses, repeated gay sex between consenting adults.

A look at global reactions after Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed an anti-gay bill that calls for harsh penalties, including 14 years in jail for first-time offenders, and life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for, among other offenses, repeated gay sex between consenting adults.

Kenyan prize-winning writer Binyavanga Wainaina, who came out as gay last month in an online essay, said Yoweri Museveni is looking to create a political wedge issue that will help his constituents forget about government corruption and a lax economy.

"By the time the next election happens, mysterious opposition figures are going to be arrested for being homosexual, can we bet? Cause all you need is a suspicion, isn't it?'' Wainaina said. "They are never going to police it in an accurate way.''

Ugandan gay activist Dr. Paul Semugoma, who avoided deportation from South Africa last week, said: "It is sad that they disapprove of me and consider me to be evil, unnatural and un-African because of my kind of love. What should it matter to anyone who I love?''

"It's simply politics of destruction. We (homosexuals) are convenient scapegoats to be used when they need to boost their political power.''

Opponent of the U.S. gay-rights movement and Massachusetts-based evangelical lawyer Scott Lively said: "I would rather the Ugandans had followed the Russian anti-propaganda model which reflects my philosophy of preventing the mainstreaming of homosexuality with the minimum limitation on personal liberties for those who choose to live discretely outside the mainstream.''

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Uganda "took a step backward'' with the law and urged its repeal. He also said the United States is reviewing its relationship with Uganda as a consequence.

"This legislation will institutionalize hatred and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Uganda. Its passage into law signals a very grave episode in the nation's history,'' said Michelle Kagari of Amnesty International.

"The U.K. strongly opposes all discrimination on any grounds. We question the Bill's compatibility with Uganda's constitution and international treaty obligations. There can be no doubt that this Bill will increase persecution and discrimination of Ugandans, as well as damage Uganda's reputation internationally,'' said Britain Foreign Secretary William Hague, adding he was deeply saddened by the signing. "We will continue to press the Government of Uganda to defend human rights for all, without discrimination on any grounds.''

"This is a huge blow for anyone who values

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