The Ugandan government on Monday said
its anti-gay law has been “misinterpreted.”
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni in
February signed the nation's Anti-Homosexuality Act, which makes gay
unions a crime punishable by up to life in prison.
Western nations, including the United
States, have responded by cutting or redirecting aid to the nation.
The government said the law's intent
has been misunderstood.
The law was approved “with a view to
curbing open promotion of homosexuality, especially among children
and other vulnerable groups.”
“However, its enactment has been
misunderstood as a piece of legislation intended to punish and
discriminate against people of a 'homosexual orientation,' especially
by our development partners.”
“The Government of the Republic of
Uganda reaffirms that no activities of individuals, groups, companies
or organizations will be affected by the Act. The intention of the
Act is to stop promotion and exhibition of homosexual practices,”
Uganda has already lost roughly $118
million in aid from Western donors, including the United States, over
the law's enactment.
According to LGBT rights advocate
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), the law has led to a 10-fold
increase in violence and discrimination against LGBT people.
“The passing of [the law] has given
permission to a culture of extreme and violent homophobia whereby
both state and non-state actors are free to persecute Uganda's LGBTI
people with impunity,” SMUG
wrote in a report released in May.