Ugandan President Museveni Delays Signing of Anti-Gay Bill, Asks U.S. for Help

Ugandan President Museveni today hedged on his commitment to sign the anti-homosexuality bill, saying that information and reaction he had received since announcing his decision has prompted him to seek more information.

MuseveniWrote Museveni in a statement published by the Ugandan Observer:

Their unanimous conclusion was that homosexuality, contrary to my earlier thinking, was behavioural and not genetic.  It was learnt and could be unlearnt.  I told them to put their signatures to that conclusion which they did.  That is why I declared my intention to sign the Bill, which I will do.

I have now received their signed document, which says there is no single gene that has been traced to cause homosexuality.  What I want them to clarify is whether a combination of genes can cause anybody to be homosexual.  Then my task will be finished and I will sign the Bill.

After my statement to that effect which was quoted widely around the World, I got reactions from some friends from outside Africa.  Statements like: “it is a matter of choice” or “whom they love” which President Obama repeated in his statement would be most furiously rejected by almost the entirety of our people.  

It cannot be a matter of choice for a man to behave like a woman or vice-versa.  The argument I had pushed was that there could be people who are born like that or “who they are”, according to President Obama’s statement.

I, therefore, encourage the US government to help us by working with our Scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual.  When that is proved, we can review this legislation.

I would be among those who will spearhead that effort.  That is why I had refused to sign the Bill until my premise was knocked down by the position of our Scientists.

I would like to discourage the USA government from taking the line that passing this law will “complicate our valued relationship” with the USA as President Obama said.  Countries and Societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making.

Read the full statement here.

Comments

  1. tinhouston says

    i don’t trust this guy at all. period. he’s like a snake in the grass, slithering around hidden in the blades of grass….just waiting to dart out and bite someone in the ass.

  2. ggrr says

    Since when did you need genetic evidence to not massacre people? Ugh, what a horrific world it is for anti-gay people.

  3. Christ says

    “I would like to discourage the USA government from taking the line that passing this law will “complicate our valued relationship” with the USA as President Obama said. Countries and Societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making.”

    It’s like bigots the world over don’t get that their continued bigotry might mean some adverse outcomes for them. Not that I support cutting off aid, but damn, son, you cannot both have your cake and eat your cake.

  4. Oliver Wendell Douglas says

    Yeah, so this means, “Whoa, let’s not be so HASTY here…please still give us all the money you dump our way, ’cause we haven’t finished remodeling the houses we built with your help”. Screw him, and them. BREAK OFF RELATIONS.

  5. says

    Oh but he neglects other important aspects to this whole situation which is the right to a private life, the right to equal treatment under the law (equal treatment does not look at gender), and the right to self determination – which all challenge his view that the law is okay if gay people choose to be gay which we don’t. The arguments for this law are deeply flawed and highlight how unappreciated individual liberties are in some African countries for they allow him to make this argument, and in his mind he is being fair. I’d ‘LOL’ if this did not involve human lives.

  6. says

    Oh but he neglects other important aspects to this whole situation which is the right to a private life, the right to equal treatment under the law (equal treatment does not look at gender), and the right to self determination – which all challenge his view that the law is okay if gay people choose to be gay which we don’t. The arguments for this law are deeply flawed and highlight how unappreciated individual liberties are in some African countries for they allow him to make this argument, and in his mind he is being fair. I’d ‘LOL’ if this did not involve human lives.

  7. Gigi says

    “I, therefore, encourage the US government to help us by working with our Scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual. When that is proved, we can review this legislation.”

    These troglodytes believe that gay men are child molesters who want to rape their children. What difference would it make if we could prove that gay people are born gay?

  8. JJ says

    “Countries and Societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making.”

    In other words, a person should not be free to love as he chooses, but Ugandans should be free to hate as they choose.

    Got it.

  9. AdamTh says

    The idea that he thinks he has “scientists” able to correctly address this question is laughable.

  10. Jay says

    As the most powerful Nation of the world we can make a different. It is time that the US throws its weigh behind what is good and just in the World. Our moral support goes a long way in places like Uganda, Ukraine and Venezuela, places were people just want to be freed.

  11. Robert M. says

    The first thing you need to do, Mr. President, is get the opinion of legitimate scientists instead of the Pseudo-Scientists advising you. Your advisors are allowing religious bigotry to dictate their arguments..

  12. elwoodl says

    Religious affiliation is a choice. No one ever questions if there is a gene behind religious preference.

  13. AlterEgo1980 says

    First off, I didn’t know that Obama sent him such an amazing letter. I’m glad to have a president willing to take a stand for me and people like me in other countries.
    Second, as many other posts have touched on, he’s worried about the last line only, which suggests that US would stop sending aid to his country over this. Money is the only basis of his crooked rationality.

  14. tinhouston says

    you know, it allows irritates the hell out me when I hear…’he or she chooses to be gay..’ are you serious? why would I choose to be gay if I was going to be humiliated, bullied, beaten up, or murdered because of who I CHOSE to love?
    Come on, would you choose to be gay so that you could experience all of what many of us have gone through? Idiots.

  15. says

    When he says “seek more information”, he really means, “I’m scared sh*tless that the US is going to stop sending us aid, cutting off the free flow of money that I funnel directly into my pockets”.

  16. FFS says

    So, countries should treat each other with respect, but . . . people have no such obligation to treat each other that way?!?!?

    How thick can you get?

  17. kipp says

    Is it possible Museveni is actually a good guy here? All these delay tactics may be a simple response to foreign aid concerns but they could also be the work of an elected leader trying to manage the entrenched homophobia of the majority of those who elected him. A typically homophobic African leader would not call for scientific “clarification” about anything regarding homosexuality before signing a bill like this. Museveni has done so twice now. This is a kind of progress.

  18. says

    He’s citing Obama here because he knows well the power of the US to influence many more countries to back initiatives against Uganda should he sign this legislation. Again we have our President to thank for helping our brothers & sisters in Uganda.

    Many other leaders and people of prominence around the world have written Museveni as well telling him that this law is in violation of his own Constitution and International agreements on human rights that Uganda has committed to. His signing this law puts him directly responsible for human rights violations that occur.

    The fact that he’s asking for scientific proof instead of basing a life & death decision for millions of Ugandans on religion is heartening.
    He now knows that the ‘science’ that’s been presented him is faulty. It has zero peer review.

    Why is it that science is always asked for proof but religion (someone telling you they know God’s mind) is accepted on faith.

  19. JJ says

    @KIPP, if he didn’t want to sign the bill, he’d simply cite the fact that it passed without a quorum–no delay tactics needed. The “science” angle is simply an attempt to cast differences with the West as legitimate and rational scientific debate.

  20. Will says

    Right…Uganda is going to discover the gay gene. Why don’t they also fly to the moon while they’re at it?

  21. james st. james says

    Maybe GOPathetic should go over to Uganda and show their gays how to build closets?

    Now that’s foreign aid the Republicans can get behind.

  22. says

    He wants more money. The US government will find a pretense to give him more money, and then his capital letter Scientists will make an amazing discovery.

    $$$

  23. sweet home alobama says

    Until scientist can prove the curse of Ham isn’t from God then I will consider changing my point of view on slavery. Until then I believe it’s my God given right to abuse your people!

  24. says

    Heterosexuals never have to prove anything. It’s part of societal privilege and there’s always that Adam & Eve Biblical thing. You know, that never proven thing. The one accepted on faith.

    Museveni had better think very long and very hard on what he’s doing here. In an international community in the XXI Century he will be held accountable for crimes against humanity. Haiti is now trying Baby Doc Duvalier who thought he would never have to face justice.

  25. DeeDee says

    Ok, so what happens when he doesn’t sign the bill? I mean, the situation is looking more and more bleak in Uganda, Russia, even in the US. I can easily see people taking to the streets in rage and killing gays anyway because they didn’t get their precious bill passed. He’s kind of damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. If he does he loses aid and if he doesn’t he provokes a reaction and could potentially get called gay himself.

  26. The Milkman says

    You know what? I don’t give a crap if someone thinks I chose to be gay. What if I did? I’d still deserve equal treatment under the civil law, and equal civil and human rights.

  27. Bryan says

    I’ve never understood why anyone cares if we discover a gay gene. The only reason any government cares about intimacy between two men is because many politicians function as theocrats. They have learned to view same sex behavior or orientation as immoral due to some religious/cultural myth. If science finds or does not find a “gay gene,” it won’t change this belief.

    If our rights movement is grounded in the “born this way” argument, then we might dodge Ugandan style persecution but we still risk subjugation under the kind of law they pass in Russia (and some U.S. states)–it’s fine if you’re gay, but we’re going to restrict the time, place, and manner for how you express that. And as we all know, it’s a very slippery slope to worse persecutions. I hope that our own science community and the administration gives the idea of “science”-based civil rights the public ridiculing it deserves.

  28. simon says

    He should consult a few Nobel laureates with speciality in genetic science instead of their own “scientists”. He may not get some definite answers. At least he may find out what the most probable causes are if that is indeed the reason he is hedging. The genes relating to skin color were discovered less than 10 years ago. The genes he is talking about are probably more complicated. Why not wait another 10 years until things get clarified.

  29. The Milkman says

    Sounds to me like it’s not just Museveni who deserves to be tried for human rights crimes, but rather the citizenry of Uganda themselves. As DeeDee (above) said, what happens when he doesn’t sign the bill? The government isn’t the immediate danger here, though it’s plenty dangerous. The immediate threat is from the public.

  30. Randy says

    “RESPECTABLE Countries and Societies should relate with each other on the basis of mutual respect and independence in decision making”

    Fixed that for you, Museveni. Respect is earned, not granted.

    As for the science, there is ample scientific evidence provided in court that being gay (which is not “man to behave like a woman or vice-versa”) is strongly influenced by genetics, and two chromosomes (8 and X) have been identified as contributing. Non-biological factors have not been shown to have any effect on sexual orientation, and conversion therapy in particular has been shown to be both ineffective and harmful.

    I think there’s less research on trans people (who also appear to be targets of this legislation if not literally, then by simple Ugandan stupidity on LGBT issues) but there can be no doubt of a biological origin.

  31. Bill says

    My guess is that he’s asking for scientific evidence because it will give him a political out for vetoing the bill – remember he’s a politician with a homophobic constituency and he wants to get reelected. He also doesn’t want to be accused of caving in to pressure from the U.S. and Europe.

    Asking for scientific evidence is an indication that he is having second thoughts (if only due to international pressure) and wants a face-saving excuse for changing his mind.

  32. Anony6 says

    Yea I don’t see the relevance of the genetics discussion.

    Whether orientation is a choice or not makes no difference. Just like individuals who choose their religion, who choose to own a firearm, who choose to own property aren’t discriminated against because of their choice by there governments. So “choice” should be neither here or there.

  33. Chuck says

    It does not MATTER WHY people are gay. You shut this law down NOW and take a solemn promise not to revive it and we will BEGIN to talk.

    End of story.

  34. JackFknTwist says

    @ KIPP :

    Now you are being ridiculous.

    Let him get his science from distinguished experts from the UK, Uganda’s former colonial masters or at least from some experts who are not mad religious nut cases.
    But this guy is truly malevolent.
    He will do whatever is popular……a real burner of “evil persons” such as homosexuals.

  35. JackFknTwist says

    President Obama needs to keep the pressure on this twisted fool.
    Let it be quite clear – get your science from experts from the west ( the non religious delusional kind), or you and the other all singing all dancing circus get no foreign aid whatsoever…..nothing…..not a cent…..
    Those are the terms -make up your mind….scrap all this law or not a penny.

  36. says

    Northwestern University
    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/14/genes-influence-male-sexual-orientation-study

    Researchers have speculated in the past that genes linked to homosexuality in men may have survived evolution because they happened to make women who carried them more fertile. This may be the case for genes in the Xq28 region, as the X chromosome is passed down to men exclusively from their mothers.

    ‘Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice,’ said Bailey. ‘We found evidence for two sets [of genes] that affect whether a man is gay or straight. But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved.’

    ‘Historically, the persecution and awful treatment of LGBT groups has been because politicians, religious leaders and societies have viewed sexual orientation as ‘choice’ or due to poor upbringing.’

  37. JJ says

    It would be a mistake to get drawn into a scientific debate over this. Is there *any* scientific conclusion that would justify this law? No. At best you’d end up with an appeal to nature, which would justify nothing. To even entertain the debate would lend false credibility to the notion that the law would be acceptable if Museveni’s scientists could prove their claims. It wouldn’t. Not if their claims are proven. Not if their claims are disproven. There is no fact of nature that would justify this law.

  38. says

    @JJ
    Disagree. Science does point to a genetic propensity for homosexuality. False science that Musoveni has been given won’t show that result but relevant science will. Quote the Northwestern research scientist Dr Bailey ‘sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice’. Neither heterosexual nor homosexual.

    Africans have been lied to for quite a few years by people like Scott Lively who have had free reign and a captive, willing audience to portray homosexuals as the ultimate evil. This is an opening for dialogue to refute the lies they’ve peddled. Whether science is the definitive answer/best defense or not is irrelevant here. It’s the framework he’s offered and one we can’t lose by engaging. Lives are at stake immediately. Fighting the legality of ‘choice’ is a battle for another time.

  39. JJ says

    @BOOM!: “It’s the framework he’s offered and one we can’t lose by engaging.”

    Accepting that framework *is* losing. Even if both sides agree on the science, Museveni can bend it to whatever conclusion he wants:

    Homosexuality is a choice? Then it’s a violation of nature and suppressing gays is justified.
    Homosexuality is not a choice? Then it’s a defect of nature and suppressing gays is justified.

    Not to mention, Museveni’s default position is that gays are subject to suppression unless scientifically “proven” otherwise. There’s no way to “prove” scientifically that gays are entitled to their rights.

  40. hephaestion says

    Yes, Uganda. If you pass this law you will get no more aid from the USA, Canada, France, Britain, Germany, Spain or any other civilized nation.

  41. says

    @JJ
    Characterizing accepting the opportunity at dialogue on science as automatically losing is flawed. Right now Museveni has faulty ‘science’ that he’s using to base his final decision on and he’s given us a chance to disprove that faulty science. If this were a court of law would you use your argument or would you engage?

    This dialogue is the starting point that can save Ugandan lives. It’s not a discussion on semantics or oneupmanship or strength of position. He’s been given bad ‘science’ (which he’s been told is bad) and is asking us to give him an excuse to not sign this law by disproving it. Ugandan LGBT are dependent on the outside world to save their lives. I’m willing to chance that giving Museveni reputable scientific studies is a better option than not doing so.

    There absolutely is a genetic based correlation to homosexuality. Read the Northwestern study. If Museveni has that in his hands as opposed to the Regnerus type crap he’s been given so far that could well be the deciding difference in whether this becomes law or not.

  42. JJ says

    @BOOM!, it’s ironic that you’d invoke courts to advocate a theory of human rights that no reputable court would consider valid. If gays’ right to life were on trial, the court would never entertain the suggestion that those rights should perhaps be subject to human interpretations of what Nature intends or authorizes.

    The court of public opinion, OTOH, is driven by motivated reasoning, which works in the reverse to how courts work: people decide what conclusion they want first and then look for any excuse to rationalize it. Engaging with people on these terms, when all they’re looking for is ammunition, only gives them ammunition. They simply brush off any contrary facts.

    I can see that you think Museveni is making overtures toward dialogue and trying to build a politically viable case to kill the bill, but that’s simply implausible. If he wanted to kill it without directly opposing it, he would simply reject it for having passed parliament without a quorum. If he wanted to build a scientific case, he wouldn’t publicly announce as much in advance without knowing that the findings would support him. He wouldn’t tell his parliament, “We shall have a war with the homosexual lobby in the world,” if he intended that war to end in humiliating defeat with his eventual surrender in the form of a veto.

    No, the most plausible conclusion is that his science *does* support his plan. He knows the same as anyone that science hasn’t answered this question. He’s challenging the West to prove his science wrong, because he knows we can’t do it. If we engage the science, we’ll lose, which will give him the ammunition he needs to sign the bill and then turn to the West and say we have no cause to punish his nation over a legitimate scientific disagreement–a legitimacy we bestowed by engaging in the first place–as if conditioning those rights on the outcome of the science was ever legitimate. Motivated reasoning.

  43. Brother John says

    What’s happening in Uganda, or rather the reason(s) why Ugandan lawmakers and the president and the majority of Ugandans want the bill to be signed is what I see mostly as the fear of homosexual training by western LGBT members in Uganda. Homosexuality in Uganda is receiving classical campaigns, targeting Ugandan teenagers and children, whose decision-making capacity, unfortunately isn’t yet maturely developed. With money being used as a token to reinforce the influence and the widespread of homosexuality, poor Ugandan teenagers and children undecidedly prefer homosexual life to poverty life. If no one stands against this coercion, rights of children adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution, 1386 (XIV) of December 10th, 1959, will be violated. I am writing on behalf of children because they are the ones being affected.

  44. Brother John says

    My suggestion: While God is the one in position to punish any sin including sexual-related sins, authorities may punish crimes including sexual-related crimes. Let’s be able to distinguish sexual orientation from sexual offence, and the both gay or straight will live together without violating anyone’s rights. I also suggest that if it is possible, let the term “Human Rights” be defined with an international-standard definition that includes different cultures and different norms.

  45. Brother John says

    I conclude by agreeing to the fact that homosexuality should not be punished by imprisonment, neither should the LGBT persons be discriminated against in any way, as long as there are no sexual platforms and classrooms and microphones put in place for LGBT persons to champion

  46. says

    @JJ
    Strange that you find my citing courts ironic. We’ve had to defend against bad science in every court case we’ve won. When bad science is presented as evidence do we say ‘we find that argument reprehensible and refuse to engage it’ or do we prove it indefensible? Every court victory so far relied on addressing that bad science.

    ‘He’s challenging the West to prove his science wrong, because he knows we can’t do it. If we engage the science we lose’

    You can’t possibly believe that.
    Musoveni has no science that can prove sexual orientation is choice because there is no reputable science that will say that. NONE. If it existed it would have been presented in courts long ago. And every attempt so far at using scientific studies has been refuted because they can be proven to be faulty.

    Advocating for a non engagement on genetics is taking the moral high ground and yes we shouldn’t have to but we don’t have control of that circumstance here. The bad science he has can be proven wrong by better science why should we fear taking it on whether in a court of law or in the court of public opinion.

  47. JJ says

    @SERIOUSLY a/k/a @BOOM!: “why should we fear taking it on whether in a court of law or in the court of public opinion[?]”

    Because the default presumptions, the standards of evidence, and the burden of proof in a court of law are all designed to reach fair and rational conclusions, which works in our favor. We always win a fair fight. We engage bad science in court because the rules of engagement are fair.

    Museveni’s presumptions, standards of evidence, and burden of proof are all slanted toward signing the bill. The very best we can hope for is a draw–since science doesn’t know the cause of homosexuality–which fails to meet the burden of proof Museveni demands in order to veto the bill. I agree that we should engage him if he offered fair terms, but then the science would be irrelevant for the reasons I’ve stated. As Desmond Tutu put it, “[T]here is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love…. There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever.”

    “Advocating for a non engagement on genetics is taking the moral high ground and yes we shouldn’t have to but we don’t have control of that circumstance here.”

    On the contrary. Uganda depends on the West. Museveni doesn’t have the power to dictate terms to us.

  48. JJ says

    @BROTHER JOHN: “Homosexuality in Uganda is receiving classical campaigns, targeting Ugandan teenagers and children”

    No such campaigns exist or ever existed. It’s a standard ploy of oppressors to demonize a group by claiming they prey on children. Anti-semites have long said Jews steal children. White supremacists screamed that black men were out to defile white daughters. Victorian England said gay men bugger children–a charge that you now repeat.

    What actually happens is very simple: children grow up and fall in love. When it’s heterosexual, you call it romance. When it’s homosexual, you call it recruitment. The specter of the homosexual predator is simply slander meant to inflame hatred–a lie that won’t fool an educated audience.

    “I am writing on behalf of children because they are the ones being affected.”

    If you had ever talked to or even given a thought to any actual children, you’d find that they prefer not to be raped by anyone of either sex. You’d find that they are unharmed by consenting adults choosing to love each other. And you’d find that children want to grow up to be free to love whom they love.

    Yet your law treats homosexuality differently from heterosexuality. It targets conduct between consenting adults. And it condemns your sons and daughters who grow up to love–as a mere happenstance of nature–others of the same sex to a life of fear, loneliness, and despair. The law utterly belies your claims of protecting children.

    ‘if it is possible, let the term “Human Rights” be defined with an international-standard definition that includes different cultures and different norms.’

    If I understand you, this is the if-you’re-so-tolerant-then-can’t-you-just-tolerate-my-intolerance argument. The core of this argument is a false equivalency: that the desire to harm is simply an equally valid alternative to the desire to empower, and it deserves equal respect. No. Harm causes suffering and empowerment alleviates suffering, so the two are clearly unequal.

    It’s also unwise, because you never know when the one you harm might have been your ally. I for example was one of the lead software developers on a wireless electronic device that the Satellife project deployed to health clinics in Uganda. I was directly responsible for inventing and implementing technologies that enabled those clinics to collect and transmit vital health information electronically, wirelessly, and instantaneously. That project was awarded a 3GSM World Congress Award. I also happen to be gay, and I live in a country that empowers me to realize my full potential, and in turn, help others.

    The next gay person who’s dragged into the street and beaten to death by his neighbors who are simply practicing Uganda’s alternative “Human Rights” norm, might have developed a cure for Malaria, or led the nation to a better democracy, or simply cared for a sick neighbor, or just been a nice person who never hurt anyone and deserved to live and love and be loved just like anyone else.

  49. says

    @JJ
    The comment posted under @SERIOUSLY above is mine.
    He had logged onto this computer earlier and I didn’t notice when I replied.

    Musoveni has signed the legislation but I think this discussion is worhtwhile.

    Both court of public opinion and court of law disagree with you. Public opinion, which is essentially Musoveni’s court here, has been stacked against homosexual equality using nothing more than religion/opinion/and bad science for millennia and yet by addressing each and every one of their arguments we proven them wrong. We win those arguments and gain public support because we engage not when we disengage.

    “I agree that we should engage him if he offered fair terms, but then the science would be irrelevant for the reasons I’ve stated.”

    If we had refused engagement until we had a guarantee of fair terms we’d still be as unequal as we were in the 50’s. We won the equality and built the public support we have now by taking on the arguments even when it was stacked against us. And no the science is not irrelevant. Especially when it’s already disproved bad science. Regardless of proving genetic propensity for homosexuality we can at the very least prove that the bad science he’s been given is faulty.

    “As Desmond Tutu put it, “[T]here is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love…. There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever.”

    This is exactly MY defense for engaging. Read the last sentence that you quote here. ‘no scientific justification for prejudice’
    Tutu is saying and doing exactly what I suggest. Engaging and disproving the bad science.