Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has shelved an anti-gay law as he seeks advice from American scientists on the causes of homosexuality.

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.

Museveni at first said that he disagreed with the bill, saying he wanted to hear from scientists before deciding whether he would sign it. Last weekend, at a parliamentary retreat, he announced that a report prepared by Ugandan scientists had convinced him that being gay was a choice and that he would sign the legislation, a move criticized by U.S. President Barack Obama as “complicating” the U.S.'s relationship with the African nation.

“I therefore encourage the US government to help us by working with our scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual,” Museveni is quoted as saying by The Guardian. “When that is proved, we can review this legislation.”

Still, Museveni echoed the unsupported claims of anti-gay activists: “Africans do not seek to impose their views on anybody. We do not want anybody to impose their views on us. This very debate was provoked by western groups who come to our schools and try to recruit children into homosexuality.”