Both chambers of Congress have
introduced resolutions that urge the Uganda Parliament to dump a
proposed bill that that ups the penalties for being gay in a country
where it is already illegal.
California Representative Howard L. Berman introduced his resolution on Wednesday. The resolution has
attracted 38 co-sponsors, including openly gay representatives Barney
Frank of Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jared Polis of
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.
The House measure expresses U.S.
opposition to the bill and calls on the secretary of state and the
president to “impress upon the Ugandan government the U.S. belief
in the human dignity of all Ugandans regardless of sexual
Both Secretary Clinton and President
the proposal on Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast.
“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 said.
Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Tom
Coburn (R-OK), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced
a similar measure on Thursday.
In addition to urging the Uganda
Parliament to reject the anti-gay bill, the resolution also “urges
all countries around the world to reject and repeal similar laws that
criminalize homosexuality, and encourages the United States
Department of State to closely monitor human rights abuses that occur
because of sexual orientation,” according to a statement released
by Feingold's office.