Barack Obama | Chuck Grassley | News | Russ Feingold | Uganda | Vatican

Uganda 'Kill the Gays' Bill Will Include Death Penalty Provision;
Obama, Grassley, Coburn, Feingold, Vatican Speak Out

An article appearing in The Guardian over the weekend reports that the death penalty and life imprisonment provisions in Uganda's "kill the gays" bill as it has come to be known, have not been dropped, as Bloomberg reported last week.

Bahatie The Guardian spoke with the bill's main sponsor, David Bahati: "Bahati has just presented his anti-homosexuality bill 2009 to Uganda's parliament. The bill, which will be debated within a fortnight and is expected to become law by February, will allow homosexuality to be punishable by death...He denied reports that international pressure might result in parts of the bill being toned down. 'We are not going to yield to any international pressure – we cannot allow people to play with the future of our children and put aid into the game. We are not in the trade of values. We need mutual respect.'"

The White House finally took a public stand on the "kill the gays" bill, late on Friday afternoon and only after prodding from The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld.

Said the statement: "The president strongly opposes efforts, such as the draft law pending in Uganda, that would criminalize homosexuality and move against the tide of history."

Grassley Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, under pressure from groups like One Iowa, which began a petition urging the legislator to speak out, finally spoke out in a statement to the Iowa Independent.

Said Grassley: "Based on what I’ve been able to learn about the legislation and from the stand point that I’m a born again Christian, I can tell you that I don’t agree with this un-Christian and unjust  proposal, and I hope the Ugandan officials dismiss it."

GOP Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has spoken out as well: “Over the past two decades, political, religious, and community leaders in Uganda have united to promote a rare, winning strategy against HIV that addresses the unique and common risks of every segment of society. Sadly, some who oppose Uganda’s common sense ABC strategy are using an absurd proposal to execute gays to undermine this coalition and winning strategy. Officials in Uganda should come to their senses and take whatever steps are necessary to withdraw this proposal that will do nothing but harm a winning strategy that is saving lives.”

Feingold And Wisconsin Senator and Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs Russ Feingold released a statement.

Said Feingold: "I share the outrage of many political, religious and civic leaders in Uganda and around the world about the “anti-homosexuality bill” before the Ugandan Parliament.  If enacted, this inhumane bill would sanction new levels of violence against people in Uganda based solely on their gender or sexual orientation.  Its passage would hurt the close working relationship between our two countries, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Over the last month, I have conveyed these concerns to the State Department and directly to President Museveni, and I urge Uganda’s leaders to reject this bill."

Ugandamap Finally, The Vatican released a curiously timed statement which did not mention Uganda directly but appears to address the situation there:

"As stated during the debate of the General Assembly last year, the Holy See continues to oppose all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as the use of the death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The Holy See also opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person. As raised by some of the panelists today, the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State. While the Holy See’s position on the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity remains well known, we continue to call on all States and individuals to respect the rights of all persons and to work to promote their inherent dignity and worth."

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  1. Tom Coburn telling you your bill is too homophobic is like Whitney Houston telling you you're hitting the pipe too hard.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 14, 2009 9:04:20 AM

  2. This is where Obama really grates me. For him to "strongly oppose" this bill means that he would be attempting to use the power of the United States (which gives tons of money in aid to Uganda) to kill this bill.

    while he might oppose it, his "strong" opposition is not being demonstrated.


    Posted by: Dan B | Dec 14, 2009 9:36:38 AM

  3. This international outrage (and hopefully, preassure) is important. These African leaders are dishonest and corrupt, and using African Gay people as scapegoats. They can't touch gay tourists to their countries, they can't touch European Gays and foreign gay visitors, and so they kill their own African Gays. They are filthy cowards.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Dec 14, 2009 10:01:08 AM

  4. The BILLIONS in "Foreign Aid" the U.S. hands over to Uganda MUST END IMMEDIATELY!!!!!

    Don't expect Barry to do JACK SHIT about it unless forced.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 14, 2009 10:10:21 AM

  5. Yeah David, let's pull all their AIDs funding. That's a great idea.

    I mean, reactionary murder is a good thing, right?

    Posted by: Aaron Rowland | Dec 14, 2009 1:17:05 PM

  6. The point is that we don't give them billions or anything close to it. Part of this bill is a ploy to increase aid. And the ABC strategy is not as perfect as Coburn makes it sound. The A stands for abstinence, after all.

    I never thought I would read comments from such a range of people (save Feingold) and think, Wow the Vatican is really a voice of reason here. Is it the end of days?

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 14, 2009 3:23:26 PM

  7. Er, sorry Aaron, but pulling foreign aid (even for AIDS) is NOT tantamount to murder. Pull their funding if they pass this law.

    Posted by: Derek Pearce | Dec 14, 2009 3:38:25 PM

  8. Most Americans cannot fathom how poor Uganda actually is.

    For the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the Ugandan government approved a 5.2 trillion shilling budget.

    Sounds impressive?

    It actually amounts to 2.6 billion USD.

    That's less than half the 6.3 billion USD the City of San Francisco spent over the same time period. And these figures include the foreign aide you all are so keen on cutting off. San Francisco has a population of 800,000 spread over less than 50 square miles. Uganda has a population of 33 million spread over 91,136 square miles.

    We literally spend more on pornography in this country than they have to spend on, well, everything.

    Posted by: John | Dec 14, 2009 4:02:45 PM

  9. Um, Andy where do you get that the White House only doing something now prodded by the Advocate? There is nothing to indicate that. Also, the article clearly says the State Department, you know the Obama Administration State Department, has been trying to deal with this.

    Posted by: DJ | Dec 14, 2009 7:35:55 PM

  10. @John. Thanks for that informative, reasoned and thoughtful response. I'm tempted to assume you are a non-LGB person since queens commenting here in spittle-flecked anger mood are giving us their best Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland imitation: "Sentence first, trial afterward!"
    The persons you should be directing your anger toward are the fundamentalist evangelical Protestants here in the USA who exported our culture wars to East Africa and are behind this legislation. In the byzantine world of religion, the Vatican is oh so reasonable on this because they are competitors with the fundies for black congregants and don't want to give the competition an edge.

    Posted by: Contrarian | Dec 14, 2009 8:16:54 PM

  11. The USA will do nothing against Uganda.The USA will not stop aid or assistance of any kind.Why?.Because Uganda is in Africa and the USA has a black President.It is a shame to this country that outrages like that are committed in the world and the USA sits back and tacitally approves them.The USA is very quick in condemning Honduras for a lawful act done by its Congress and Supreme Court but when it comes to laws that condemn gays to death the USA becomes silent.Why?.Because Barck Obama as a christian and a black HATES gays.He needed their votes and promised them the world and it is giving them the shaft.Stupid gays will take and smile.Shame on Lambda and all other gay organizations.BOYCOTT UGANDA and everything from Uganda.Put presure on Obama to stop aid to Uganda NOW.

    Posted by: Oscar in Miami Beach | Dec 16, 2009 1:00:37 AM

  12. I have been living in Uganda for a while and fighting the good fight against this bill, including speaking to MPs and Bahati himself, since I learned of the bill.

    There are some more things you need to know about Uganda before you start screaming BOYCOTT and PULL AID.

    - The average Ugandan, with a job, has an income of 36,000 Shillings per month, this is equivalent to about $20.

    - It's true that most Ugandans have moral objections to homosexuality (brought to them care of Christian Missionaries in most cases) but EVERY SINGLE Ugandan (non-politician) who I have spoken with about the bill agrees that the bill is a very bad idea.

    - These MPs and politicians are feeding off ignorance misinformation of their constituencies (just as politicians do everywhere) hoping the masses won't read up on the bill and just have a favorable gut reaction to the title.

    - Uganda is one of the countries most ravaged by HIV/AIDS

    - Thanks to global climate change, that Westerners are largely responsible for, Uganda enduring famine in many of its regions this year.

    I hope that this information helps you see that cutting aid and boycotts will only serve to hurt those who are already poor and suffering, the politicians and religious leaders who are pushing the bill will be much less effected by these actions, especially those who sit in Washington, DC!

    Better to contact your representatives and urge them to speak with their colleagues who are members of "The Family" to have them call off the bill from the inside.

    Posted by: Becca | Dec 16, 2009 8:31:00 AM

  13. Am I the only one that noticed that PapaRatzi must have a new ghost-writer?

    That's the most balanced comment I think I've ever seen from the Vatican...

    Posted by: stephen | Dec 16, 2009 9:11:56 AM

  14. We should starve that fucking country to death. And bomb their parliment into oblivioun. Dont tell me we cant spare a b52 mission and a couple 2000 pounders.

    And make an example.

    And maybe shake up the german pope, whose life seems to revolve around denigrating gays.

    But really because his empire is collapsing all around him. With Portugal about to have gay marriage, and Ireland - both "bastions of Catholicism", every last west European country will recognize gay marriage or alias named rights except Italy and Greece.

    As well as about 20 others, even including Repub of South africa, Mexico city, Uraguay, Israel, Nepal, new Zealand etc.

    Religious power will die a hard death, but it needs to be destroyed.

    And if you want to really hear about nutiness - back a year ago, a couple ultra orthodox members of Israels parliment said gays were like bird flu. An obvious call for the extermination of gay people

    By the very people whose close relatives shared hitlers ovens with the gays of germany.

    BTW, I was Jewish, but until Israel hands those people over to Hamas, bound and gagged as a peace offering, not any more. To Hell with them.

    Posted by: SteveMD2 | Feb 6, 2010 3:30:24 AM

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