John M. Becker

Report: Uganda Pres Will Sign Anti-Gay Law if Scientists Prove It's a Choice

Filed By John M. Becker | January 28, 2014 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Uganda, Uganda anti-gay law, Yoweri Museveni

yoweri-museveni.jpgA new report out of Uganda says that President Yoweri Museveni told a gathering of parliamentarians last week that he would only sign the country's notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill if scientists can prove that homosexuality is a choice. (For the record, it's not -- so they can't.)

Uganda's Observer has the story:

Caught in a controversy that won't seem to die soon, President Museveni surprised his ruling NRM MPs on Friday when he said he would only sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law, if he gets scientific proof that homosexuals are made and not born.

His declaration stirred an angry response from the NRM caucus meeting at State House on that day.

Sources at inside the meeting said MPs nearly turned rowdy as they faced off with the combative Museveni, who arrived two hours late for the 10am meeting...

"He told us that his views against the law were influenced by a report by some gay rights activists whom he met recently. He said that those activists told him that gays were born just like albinos," a source said.

The Observer's source also states that MPs booed Museveni's announcement and had to be repeatedly called to order.

Under Uganda's constitution, after the president receives a bill passed by Parliament they have just 30 days to act on it (sign it, send it back, or reject it). If he or she does nothing, the bill becomes law without the president's signature. The Anti-Homosexuality Law passed back on December 20, but it is unclear when it was delivered to Museveni's desk, or whether it has been delivered yet at all.

It's worth remembering that news reports out of Uganda can sometimes be dubious. Just last month, Uganda's Daily Monitor falsely reported that Museveni had "blocked" the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, triggering misleadingly hopeful headlines around the world that later had to be corrected. (The misleading article is still accessible on the newspaper's website.) So it's best to take this news not with a grain of salt, but a bowl full.

We'll continue to keep you updated as soon as we know more -- watch this space.

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