House members are urging President
Obama to speak out against a proposed anti-gay bill currently before
the Ugandan Parliament, the Minnesota Independent reported.
“The Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009
is by far the most extreme and hateful attempt by an African country
to criminalize the LGBT community,” the letter says.
The bill would strengthen the criminal
penalties for having gay sex in a country where it is already
illegal. It also includes a death penalty provision for repeat
offenders and people who are HIV-positive, and would ban the
“promotion of homosexuality,” which would effectively outlaw
political organizations, broadcasters and publishers that advocate on
behalf of gay rights.
The ninety representatives called on
Obama to speak out against the bill.
“Specifically, we ask that you speak
out publicly against this proposed legislation to bring further
attention to the issue.”
“Also, given your popularity in
Africa, speaking out publicly against Uganda and Rwanda's proposed
anti-homosexuality legislation is likely to garner more concern and
attention from not only African nations but internationally. We
further ask that you give diplomatic weight to your call for
homosexuality to be decriminalized worldwide.”
The letter is signed by openly gay
representatives Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin of
Wisconsin and Jared Polis of Colorado.
Strong gay allies that have signed on
to the letter include representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida,
Mike Quigley of Illinois, Jerrold Nadler of New York, Michael M.
Honda of California, Alcee Hastings of Florida, Jim McDermott of
Washington, Pete Stark of California and Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is
the highest-ranking cabinet member to condemn the proposed