Gay activists in three cities gathered
on Thursday to mourn the loss of Ugandan gay rights activist David
Kato was found bludgeoned to death with
a hammer in his home near Kampala, the nation's capital.
Kato and his group, Sexual Minorities
Uganda (SMUg), had campaigned against a proposed bill that includes a
death penalty provision for people who repeatedly engage in gay sex
and those who are HIV-positive. He also challenged a newspaper in
court for publishing the personal details of leading gay rights
advocates along with the banner, “Hang Them.”
Police have arrested a suspect, who
they say has confessed to the murder. According to officials, the
suspect did not kill Kato because he was gay.
In the District of Columbia, gay rights
group Get Equal protested outside the National Prayer Breakfast,
which was attended by President Obama. The group said it was opposed
to The Family's sponsorship of the event. The Evangelical group has
been linked to Uganda's anti-gay law.
director Heather Cronk told gay publication Metro Weekly
that the purpose of the event was to “intercede in the imprisonment
or death of more of our Uganda sisters and brothers – and to make
it clear that eradicating us, whether in Africa or America, will not
be tolerated.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this
In San Francisco, more than 100 people
gathered to hear speakers at the Harvey Milk Plaza, where merchants
lowered a giant rainbow flag at half mast in memory of Kato.
A second vigil in New York also
remembered Kato's legacy of fighting against homophobia and
“We're mobilizing to bring attention
to the government and people [in America] to homophobia in Africa and
Uganda in particular,” Charles Gueboguo told AFP.
The demonstrators delivered a letter to
the Ugandan Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Dr.
Ruhakana Rugunda, calling for the government to denounce the murder.
They also urged authorities in Uganda
to “thoroughly and impartially investigate this heinous crime.”