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,” the government said.

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.