Uganda lawmaker David Bahati is
expected to attend a prayer breakfast in Washington D.C.
Bahati is the author of a controversial
bill that would strengthen the criminal penalties for having gay sex
in the African country. The bill includes a death penalty provision
for repeat offenders and people who are HIV-positive, increasing the
penalties for having gay sex in a country where it's already a crime.
The bill also bans the “promotion of homosexuality,” which would
effectively outlaw political organizations, broadcasters and
publishers that advocate on behalf of gay rights.
Bahati told the Kampala-based Daily
Monitor that he will attend the
National Prayer Breakfast, which is expected to draw over 3,500
guests to the Hilton Washington's ornate ballroom on February 4.
“I intend to
attend the prayer breakfast,” Bahati told the newspaper.
The annual event is
organized by The Fellowship Foundation, also known as “The Family,”
a conservative Christian organization.
Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at
the Heart of American Power, a
book that exposes the political capital amassed in the U.S. by the
secretive group, recently claimed the group was behind Bahati's bill,
a charge Bahati has denied.
that introduced the bill, a guy named David Bahati, is a member of
The Family,” Sharlet said in a recent NPR interview. “He appears
to be a core member of The Family. He works, he organizes their
Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast and oversees an African sort of
student leadership program designed to create future leaders for
Africa, into which The Family has poured millions of dollars working
through a very convoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to
is a liar and is responsible for generating the interest in this bill
abroad,” Bahati told the Daily Monitor.
“He just wants to sell his book.”
governments, including the U.S., Canada and Great Britain, as well as
the United Nations have condemned the proposed legislation and called
on the government to scrap it. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of
the Senate Finance Committee's subcommittee on International Trade,
threatened to reverse Uganda's advantageous trade status if the bill
Obama has not announced whether he will attend the event, it's
customary for the president to address the crowd. Obama did attend
last year's prayer breakfast.