According to multiple reports, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh signed a bill into law in October that prescribes life in prison for gay sex.

The law calls for life imprisonment for people repeatedly convicted of having consensual sex with a member of the same sex. The harsh sentence can also be imposed in cases where one of the partners is HIV-positive, a minor or disabled. Similar legislation approved last year in Uganda was struck down by a court in July on technical grounds.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, called the law “draconian.”

“These draconian laws have no place in the 21st century, and the United States must send a clear message that the Gambian government cannot trample on the rights of its LGBT citizens,” Griffin said in a statement. “We call on the Obama Administration to conduct a full diplomatic review of the United States' relationship with The Gambia.”

Rodney Ford, a State Department spokesman, told the Washington Blade that the U.S. “strongly opposes any legislation that criminalizes consensual relations between adults.”

“We are especially concerned by the recent decision by The Gambia's president to sign into law a bill that provides for punishment up to life imprisonment for consensual same-sex conduct between adults,” he added.

Gay sex was already illegal in the West African nation, where violators faced prison sentences of up to 14 years.

Jammeh has a long history of anti-gay rhetoric; in February he described gays as “vermin.”