The Obama administration on Monday criticized Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for signing a harsh anti-gay bill into law, saying that he had taken the nation “a step backward.”

Museveni acted roughly two months after lawmakers approved the bill which prescribes life imprisonment for people repeatedly convicted of having consensual sex with a member of the same sex.

(Related: Yoweri Museveni signs Ugandan anti-gay bill.)

“Instead of standing on the side of freedom, justice, and equal rights for its people, today, regrettably, Ugandan President Museveni took Uganda a step backward by signing into law legislation criminalizing homosexuality,” the Obama administration said in an emailed statement. “As President Obama has said, this law is more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda, it reflects poorly on the country's commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and will undermine public health, including efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. We will continue to urge the Ugandan government to repeal this abhorrent law and to advocate for the protection of the universal human rights of LGBT persons in Uganda and around the world.”