White House and State Department Reiterate Opposition to Uganda’s Anti-gay Bill

In statements made on Friday, both the State Department and the White House National Security Council strongly criticized Uganda's passage of the anti-gay bill that imposes a life sentence as the maximum penalty for "aggravated homosexuality." The Washington Blade reports:

UgandaJonathan Lalley, assistant press secretary for national security at the White House, said the Obama administration is “deeply concerned” about the Uganda measure.

“We are deeply concerned by the Ugandan Parliament’s passage of anti-homosexuality legislation,” said Lalley. “As Americans, we believe that people everywhere deserve to live in freedom and equality – and that no one should face violence or discrimination for who they are or who they love. We join those in Uganda and around the world who appeal for respect for the human rights of LGBT persons and of all persons.”

Meanwhile, Aaron Jensen, spokesperson for the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor, told the Washington Blade the Obama administration remains strongly opposed to any form of anti-gay legislation abroad. 

“The United States respects the sovereignty of Uganda and the prerogatives of its Parliament to pass legislation,” said Jensen. “Nevertheless, we oppose any legislation that undermines a person’s enjoyment of his or her human rights, and for that reason we condemn legislation that criminalizes consensual sexual conduct between adults or criminalizes simply being of a particular sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Jensen said the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would not only discriminate against LGBT Ugandans but “seriously undermine” efforts to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in the African country.

“We reiterate our long-standing opposition to this bill,” he told the Blade.