President Obama has condemned a proposed bill before the Uganda Parliament that ups the penalties for being gay in a country where it is already illegal, the BBC reported.

“We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are – whether it's here in the United States or as Hillary [Clinton] mentioned more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda,” Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spoke before Obama, also criticized the proposal.

Last year, Uganda lawmaker David Bahati introduced the bill that includes a death penalty provision for people who repeatedly engage in gay sex and those who are HIV-positive. The bill also bans the “promotion of homosexuality,” which would effectively outlaw political organizations, broadcasters and publishers that advocate on behalf of gay rights.

Gay activists had urged Obama to avoid the annual bipartisan gathering of religious and political leaders because of its alleged influence in developing the Uganda bill.

The event is organized by The Fellowship Foundation, also known as “The Family,” a conservative Christian organization. Jeff 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.

“[The] legislator 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 Uganda.”

Sharlet 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.”

Over ninety representatives called on Obama to speak out against the bill last month, including openly gay representatives Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jared Polis of Colorado. In a letter addressed to the president, the lawmakers asked him to “speak out publicly against this proposed legislation to bring further attention to the issue.”

For Obama to finally jump into the fray while addressing the people allegedly tied to the measure shocked gay bloggers and commenters.

Realistically, Obama could not have skipped this event if he wanted to – it is simply too politically charged these days. So for him to mention this, and condemn the law so strongly, is really fantastic,” said one commenter at Pam's House Blend, a popular web hangout for gay discrimination discourse.

Joe Sudbay at said the inclusion of gay marriage in the speech made Obama “sound more pro-gay marriage than he is.”