In a statement from the White House Press Office today, President Obama slammed Uganda's notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to sign into law:
As a country and a people, the United States has consistently stood for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights. 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.
That is why I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality. 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. It also will mark a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights.
As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda. At a time when, tragically, we are seeing an increase in reports of violence and harassment targeting members of the LGBT community from Russia to Nigeria, I salute all those in Uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons.
The bill, formerly known as the "Kill the Gays" bill, imposes a lifetime prison sentence for the "crime" of "aggravated homosexuality." It also mandates jail time for sexual acts between members of the same sex, compels people to turn in anyone they know who has engaged in same-sex sexual conduct, and penalizes them if they fail to do so. While the death penalty has allegedly been removed from the legislation, this has never been officially confirmed.