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Obama says Uganda anti-gay bill is 'step backward,' may upset ties

WASHINGTON--U.S. President Barack Obama warned Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni against enacting anti-gay legislation Sunday, calling it a "step backward" that would complicate ties with Kampala.

Obama, who was in California for a holiday weekend of golf, issued a strong statement saying he was "deeply disappointed" in the Ugandan leader's apparent plans to move forward with the bill.

"We believe that people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love," Obama said in a statement.

"That is why I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality," he added.

"The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda's commitment to protecting the human rights of its people."

The anti-gay legislation cruised through parliament in December after its architects dropped an extremely controversial death penalty clause.

The measure, which has been greeted with international condemnation, would criminalize the promotion or recognition of homosexual relations.

Obama suggested that the Ugandan president — a key regional ally for both the United States and the European Union — risks damaging his country's ties with Washington if he signs the bill into law.

"As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda," Obama said.

Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice wrote in a series of tweets that enacting the law "will put many at risk and stain Uganda's reputation."

Rice added that she had urged Museveni to not sign the bill.

Former president Bill Clinton, who has worked on health initiatives in the country through his Clinton Foundation, said he was "strongly opposed to its move to criminalize homosexuality."

"It is a setback for personal freedom and equal rights and a rebuke to Uganda's own commitment to protecting the human rights of its people," Clinton added.

"I want to salute and encourage the brave Ugandans committed to the fundamental dignity of all people and urge the government to reverse this decision."

Museveni, a devout evangelical Christian, has expressed the view that gays are "sick" and "abnormal."

He suggested in a letter to parliament that homosexuality was caused by a genetic flaw, or a need to make money.

Nevertheless, he refused to sign the anti-gay legislation last month.

"He does not approve of homosexuality but he believes that these people have a right to exist," presidential spokesman Tamale Mirudi told AFP at the time, explaining why the bill had been rejected.

Homophobia is widespread in Uganda. Gay men and women face frequent harassment and threats of violence, and rights activists have reported cases of lesbians being subjected to "corrective" rapes.

February 18, 2014    cloggedwithguts@
Doesn't Uganda have more pressing issues like improving the livelihood of its citizens than passing a ridiculous bill like this, or is it just another feeble attempt by it's corrupt and incompetent politicians aimed at evading such issues?
February 18, 2014    benox2007@
Did the Americans liberate Ugandan during the 1960s, our culture is ours not theirs, we strongly say no to legalizing homosexuality and it is one of violation of human rights in Uganda because many young people are just forced into the act some times by their parents/elders, sex deviants and those we call "money owners" especially from the US.
February 18, 2014    jrootto@
The world is a global village unified in its diversity to say;

The Americans are LIBERAL i.e. they believe in ideas of equality and liberty and they reject absolutism, privilege, state religion, divine rights of royals and they advocate for civil rights, freedom of press, religion, free trade and private property.

The Europeans on the other hand are CONSERVATIVE i.e. they hold onto traditional attitudes and values and are cautious about change or innovation typically in relation to politics or religion.

While the Australians are CONSERVATIONISTS i.e. they believe in preserving nature and life in its natural state.

Asians on the whole are VISIONARY i.e. they are inspired, imaginative, creative, inventive, ingenious, enterprising and innovative.

And last but not least Africans are CONVENTIONAL i.e. we live our lives according to what is generally done or believed by tradition or custom thus we exist as part of our tradition or according to the customs or usual practices associated with a particular society, place or set circumstances.

Therefore if we reject homosexuality it is not only for biblical reasons but its because it has not been a generally traditional way of existing and whether there are traces of its existence dating back to the Stone Age, it is just because evil/abomination is as old as human kind but it does not mean that we should now justify it as part of our generally accepted customs the way the LIBERALS want us to do. LONG LIVE UG, FOR GOD AND OUR COUNTRY!
February 18, 2014    s.tumwesije@
If Obama is a human rights activist why doesn't he legalize taking cocaine in the US aren't drug dealers & users rights also violated? This is how we do it in UG not in the US and who tells him that being a US president makes him next to GOD. Besides that has he forgotten that he is from a linage of Africans and that he can not change that? Uganda can survive even without US aids is that a threat any way? Or has he forgotten that? It’s Europe and US that depended on Africans through slave trade and the supply of raw materials for their industries (which still stands). Would he even have existed if his parents had adopted such valueless behavior? I would rather follow what GOD wants than what Obama and his homosexuals want (Moral Absolutism). Go to hell Obama this time round u have got it wrong. U always say IN GOD WE TRUST were is his trust in all u have said what a shame & TOGETHER WE CANNOT MAKE IT WITH homosexual at least in UG thanx His Excellency Prof Obama
February 19, 2014    bseruga@
The worst enemies of gay people in Uganda and Africa in general are the West and people like Obama. These people were living here and nobody cared about them until the west started taking it as an issue and a big deal! The West should stop giving conditions to Africans but give them an opportunity to move at our own pace. It’s our culture, our values...period!!
February 19, 2014    bseruga@
cloggedwithguts@ wrote:
Doesn't Uganda have more pressing issues like improving the livelihood of its citizens than passing a ridiculous bill like this, or is it just another feeble attempt by it's corrupt and incompetent politicians aimed at evading such issues?
This is one of the pressing issues my dear!!
February 19, 2014    amoutofegypt@
I have read Obama's book - Audacity of hope and in it he confesses to using drugs, struggling to define himself as he neither subscribed to his father's African heritage or the mother's White American. How can such a self confessed drug abuser begin lecturing Africa on morality? In talking about sexuality in the west, you hear them say: "straight" or "gay" and it is okay - now what is not straight is definitely bent/crooked/corrupted/unnatural/uncultured/uncouth etc so they affirm. Obama and the like minded are a creation of Alice Bailey and her Luciferic concoctions which are not only destroying the moral fabric of a once God fearing nation and propagator of Godly and human values but are gravely and speedily bringing down the once sole superpower of the world as it common knowledge that before the fall of any people precedes moral decadence, arrogance and pride. Mr. Obama is diverting attention from his failures and shame on Syria, the Obamacare etc and in a desperate quest to account to his fellow liberals will at whatever cost want to meddle in the affairs of other sovereign nations. Uganda's Parliament is a reflection of the Ugandans and must be respected. Why doesn't Obama say the same to China and Russia where this lunacy is also criminal - looks for soft targets. Obama, stay away from Uganda's internal affairs. Our Morality is not for sale. If you think tagging aid on homosexuality is the way to go, then keep your dollars we will make it anyway. There is no known Nation in history that has developed due to foreign aid. Ugandans took up arms against dictatorship and liberated our nation and we will always be prepared for such moments if needs be. It should be noted that homosexuality is being heavily funded and promoted by the west. Ugandans and indeed Africans are being lured into this vice by the dollars and promises of American green cards - this must be resisted and must stop. Research shows that Ugandans never willfully engage in these acts but through being lured to drug abuse and the aforementioned promises end up falling victim - this is what we must fight even to the last drop of our blood. We will die standing for what we believe is right and not live with a tainted conscience. God bless Uganda God Bless Africa.
February 20, 2014    sandyh@

You're getting rid of your frustration here, right? If not, your "classification" of "peoples" is complete BS. You obviously have never bothered to observe different cultures. You've never lived in more than 1 continent, and if so, you're blind and a racist. And if that's not enough, you clearly are a homophobe - spitting on the gay community - as well as a blasphemist - using God's name in vain. Attempted joke or not, God forbid that people possible of such a mindset will ever play part in making this world a better place.
February 26, 2014    lightcrusaderjr@
Respect is deserved when one acts with respectability. Should a man or a woman who acts as otherwise be respected for such action? Some people keep on creating categories that don't exist just to satisfy their lust or irregular cravings. Should that be permitted in civilized societies? We are now seeing what has become of the United States. Should it be allowed to force countries to subscribe to its own beliefs when they are not shared by those countries? Do gays have rights superior to others that they should be allowed to demand respect from people who don't find their behavior respectable?
February 26, 2014    my5pence@
Here's some shocking information for all you gay-and US bashers out there:

Read, educate and enlighten yourself!

Oh, and by the way, no where in the world are feminized men that omnipresent as on Japanese and Taiwanese TV-shows. Not that I mind, of course, but I've never seen such overt "irregular" behavior on Western TV's.
February 27, 2014    presentuganda@
Obama must stop thinking that he is God. He did much horrible things in the USA as well as promoting abortion in the Unites States of America. He has forgotten that God is recording all these. We the people of Uganda, will not accept Mr. Obama's tyrannical and Hellenistic Dynasty imposed on the poor people of Africa. What is $ anywhere? Go to hell with your money. Satan has used you greatly until today without realizing. You have brought God's judgment on US, if you have brain, see the tornado, hurricane, millions of Americans have lost their homes and will continue to loose them. Job shaken to many and Obama policy getting though and though beyond borders. If Jesus returns tonight, what will you do? Ugandans can do without you. Our help comes from God. Long live President Yuweri Kaguta Museveni, long live Uganda.
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