A Uganda government official on Tuesday defended recent passage of an anti-gay law.

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.

President Yoweri Museveni over the weekend announced that he would sign the bill into law, a move criticized by President Barack Obama.

(Related: Obama on Uganda anti-gay bill: “Will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda.”)

“We shall not care losing the financial support from our partners if only we are left alone,” Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo reportedly told reporters. Ugandans would rather “die poor than live in an immoral nation.”

He added that to withhold financial aid would be blackmail.

In comments to the AFP, Lokodo insisted that the government is “tolerant” of gays because they are not being slaughtered.

“We are tolerant,” Lokodo said. “That's why we say we are not slaughtering them. That's why we say let them come and we help them come out of this unfortunate situation. It's like a drug addict.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)