It was dreadful to wake up this morning to the news that the President of Uganda had signed the ‘anti-gay’ bill into law. Though this action has looked likely for weeks, there has been some hope that Museveni would challenge the popular will in his country. Instead, he re-iterated his ridiculous viewpoints, including:
Homosexuals are actually mercenaries. They are heterosexual people but because of money they say they are homosexuals. These are prostitutes because of money,” he said, asserting that he had taken the time to get scientific advice before signing off on the law.
My mind and heart immediately turned to the many activists that the UUA has partnered with in Uganda during the struggle against this bill, including UU minister Rev. Mark Kiyimba. The UUA has reached out to Rev. Mark and other partners, and we will support the paths that are chosen in this new legislative reality. Safety and security for LGBT people, which has always been a serious matter, now becomes dire. And, prioritizing a judicial challenge is likely to gain strength. We will be in solidarity with LGBT activists in Uganda, and in many places around the world, in this regional and global struggle.
The UU United Nations Office (UU-UNO) takes the lead role for the UUA in supporting LGBT partners. If you are in the NYC area, the UU-UNO will be hosting a panel discussion this Thursday, February 27th, entitled “Basic Freedoms in a Homophobic World,” which will address the current homophobic laws in Nigeria, Uganda, India and Russia.
You can support the UN Office’s work in Uganda and around the world by making a contribution. And, as news from our Ugandan partners becomes available, we’ll update this blog.
Update: From the Unitarian Church of Uganda –
The Unitarian Church of Uganda has just leant with regrets the signing of the Anti-Gay Bill into law by the President of Uganda – Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
The “Anti-Homosexuality Legislation,” is a law now in Uganda after President Museveni signed it into law. This controversial law has been the subject of international attention and concern over the impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in Uganda.
Our immediate response is: “The Ugandan government must immediately move to repeal the so-called ‘Anti-Homosexuality’ law which attaches severe criminal penalties to freedom of association and speech related to LGBT rights,”
“This law is so vague that it is could even lead to prison time for health workers ,Pastors ,Lawyers , teachers who provide care to someone thought to be gay , This Law also will see Ordinary Ugandans who believe in equality, humanity, and rights, could ending up in jail.”
As it’s the duty and obligation of Ugandan government to protect everyone within its jurisdiction from violence, we need to see concrete plans to stop vigilante violence in the wake of this legislation and to investigate, impartially, all allegations of abuse so long as the law is in effect. The government must publicly declare that it will not tolerate violence against LGBT populations.