Former President Bill Clinton on Sunday
condemned an anti-gay bill in Uganda.
The measure, approved by lawmakers on
December 20, was first introduced in 2009 and drew international
condemnation for including the death penalty. The bill as passed
replaces capital punishment with life imprisonment for people
repeatedly convicted of having consensual sex with a member of the
same sex. The sentence can also be imposed in cases where one of the
partners is HIV-positive, a minor or disabled. The bill also seeks
to outlaw the promotion of homosexuality, effectively silencing
opponents of the measure.
In announcing that he would sign the
bill into law, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni declared a “war
with the homosexual lobby.”
“The debate is, are you born
homosexual or not,” Museveni said during a parliamentary retreat.
“That's not for you to answer. You should ask why are you putting
yourself in trouble.”
“We shall have a war with the
homosexual lobby, in the world, backed by these people and you,” he
“I have been honored to work with and
support the government and people of Uganda both when I was president
and through the Clinton Foundation,” said Clinton in a statement.
“But I am 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. 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.”
a statement also released on Sunday, President Barack Obama said
the bill will “complicate our valued relationship with Uganda.”