John M. Becker

Uganda: 'Jail the Gays' Bill Doesn't Really Punish Gays

Filed By John M. Becker | July 10, 2014 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living
Tags: foreign aid, Jail the Gays Bill, John Oliver, Kill the Gays Bill, lies, pathetic, Scott Lively, spin, Uganda, Uganda anti-gay law

uganda-map.jpgThis has got to be one of the most pathetic, hollow spin attempts I've seen in a long, long time: this week, the Ugandan government responded to the millions of dollars in foreign aid cuts it's endured since it passed its barbaric "Jail the Gays" law by issuing a statement claiming that the whole thing has just been one big misunderstanding -- and stating that the law doesn't actually punish people of a "homosexual orientation" (skeptical quotes theirs).

How's that for chutzpah?

The Advocate reports:

The government contends that international partners that have cut or redirected aid formerly sent to to the Ugandan government -- including the U.S., the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and more -- in response to the so-called Jail the Gays law, have "misinterpreted [it] as a piece of legislation intended to punish and discriminate against people of a 'homosexual orientation.'"

According to the statement, the Ugandan government "remains committed to the rights of all individuals" and wants to "ensure that nobody takes the law into their own hands." Similarly, the government claims it "remains committed" to guaranteeing full, equal access to all social and health care services for all people in Uganda, "including health and HIV/AIDS services," and claims that it will "continue to enable civil society and [nongovernmental organizations] to operate freely."

However, the statement also notes that these activities must remain "in accordance with the laws of Uganda," and since the Anti-Homosexuality Act imposes a lifetime prison sentence for the "crime" of "aggravated homosexuality," 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, it's unclear how such groups could in fact continue to operate legally.

But facts be damned, Uganda's statement insists that "no activities of individuals, groups companies, or organizations will be affected by the Act."

If you're not buying the Ugandan government's propaganda and want some balanced coverage of the LGBT landscape there, look no further: late-night comedian and satirist John Oliver gave a comprehensive overview in a recent of his new weekly HBO show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (and an additional web-only exclusive).

Watch, after the break.

UPDATE: Today, reports are emerging from Uganda alleging that police have arrested five citizens -- two businessmen, a teacher, and two students -- and accused them of "promoting" homosexuality to primary and secondary school students.

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