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US Official’s Comments Suggest Death Penalty Not Removed From Uganda Kill The Gays Bill

by David Badash on November 27, 2012

in News,Politics

Post image for US Official’s Comments Suggest Death Penalty Not Removed From Uganda Kill The Gays Bill

Comments made by an unnamed U.S. official suggest the death penalty may not have been removed from Uganda‘s “Kill The Gays” bill. The Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson is reporting that a source at the U.S. State Department in Kampala says Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill has not yet been voted out of committee, contrary to reports from Ugandan politicians and new outlets. Johnson also notes that an unnamed “embassy source” states that the Ugandan parliament committee does not have the power to change the bill, only to make recommendations on the bill.

Putting these items together could lead one to assume that the death penalty has not been removed from the Kill The Gays bill, as The New Civil Rights Movement and a few others have maintained.

However, it’s important to note that the State Department has not stated the death penalty has not been removed, nor did the Blade.

The Blade reports:

U.S. officials offered a different account about the status of a draconian anti-gay bill in Uganda on Tuesday, saying the legislation had yet to move out of committee and disputing earlier media reports and State Department comments by saying the panel is incapable of removing the infamous death penalty provision from the legislation.

[Bolding ours.]

“In an email to the Washington Blade on Tuesday, an informed source at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala said the bill is still in committee,” Johnson adds. “That contradicts media reports on the bill — which imposes a penalty of life in prison for homosexual acts — that indicated the Legal & Parliamentary Affairs Committee had reported out the bill last week.”

Additionally, the embassy source, who asked not to be named, said that the committee can only compile a report on the bill for recommendations to the bill, and can’t make changes to it, such as removing the death penalty provision for “aggravated homosexuality,” which media sources reported has been removed. An earlier version of the bill defined “aggravated homosexuality” as someone with HIV engaging in homosexual acts, having homosexual sex with a minor or the repeated offense of homosexuality.

[Bolding ours.]

Johnson also reports that State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland “believes” Uganda President “Museveni ‘took onboard’ the potential negative impact of the bill during his talks with Carson.”

He quotes State Department spokesperson Nicole Thompson saying she “can pretty assuredly say that this is an issue of ongoing and continual dialogue between our government … and the government of Uganda.”

“The United States shares the concerns of several members of Uganda’s civil society and the Ugandan government’s own human rights commission, which determined the anti-homosexuality bill violates both Uganda’s constitution and its obligations under international law,” Thompson said. “Beyond that, we have serious concerns about the negative impact of the bill on public health interests in Uganda, including our concerns that it would undercut Uganda’s ability to fight HIV/AIDS infection and the spread of HIV/AIDS.”

Thompson added, “We just note that as President Obama said in reference to the same anti-homosexuality bill and his comments during the National Prayer Breakfast, it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are.”


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UnitConverter November 27, 2012 at 8:38 pm

We have to stop providing any help to Uganda and it's corrupted government. We have to stop sending our dollars to any country that disrespects the basic human rights. Shame on certain American religious leaders who encourage Ugandan legislators to sponsor this type of atrocious laws.

James_M_Martin November 28, 2012 at 9:04 am

Sadly, the Ugandan position on homosexuality is not much different from that of many African-Americans in the U.S. Blacks in the U.S. have been slow to embrace the idea that gays and lesbians are deprived of some of the same "human rights" they did not enjoy until the civil rights movement of the 60s resulted in such legislation as the Voting Rights Act. African-Americans dismissed gay rights advocacy with such observations that "you can hide what you are, but our skin color will not allow us that privilege," which of course dismisses out of hand the same desire of both groups: acceptance. In fact, if anything, blacks have it easier because the Supreme Court has recognized them as a "suspect category" of people deserving of "strict scrutiny" with respect to laws setting them apart from other Americans. And while it is true that few African-Americans here want the death penalty meted out to anyone just because of their sexual orientation, it is also certain that there is, if anything, more prejudice in the black community against gays than is encountered among whites. This is why the fastest rising group of people who are contracting the HIV today are young black gays and bisexuals. "Silence is death." There are few resources available to blacks for education and treatment compared to whites, if only because of the stigma the former face in their own community. It is nothing new, however, to find American politicians failing to speak out against the Ugandan insanity. Look at Michelle Bachmann. She is a biblical literalist who actually believes that gays should be stoned in accordance with Leviticus. That is, stoned if they will not submit to the behavior modification "reparative therapy" of her Medicaid-bilking husband Marcus. Fortunately, many African-American politicians are calling gay rights "human rights," indicating a slow but steady transformation of black attitudes toward gays. My own feeling is that if Ugandan politicians follow through on making sexual orientation a matter of life and death, the U.S. should cancel all monetary aid to that nation. That is what we should be lobbying for now.

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