Baldwin targets Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Openly lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and three other members of Congress have sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to use the full force of her office to condemn the “Anti-Homosexual Bill 2009” introduced in Uganda’s Parliament last month.

“This egregious bill represents one of the most extreme anti-equality measures ever proposed in any country and would create a legal pretext for depriving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans of their liberty, and even their lives,” Baldwin wrote, joined by House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chair Howard Berman, D-Calif., Vice Chair Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., and Ranking Minority Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.

“Particularly given the United States’ substantial contribution to Uganda through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), we believe swift action is necessary to ensure Ugandan leaders understand this bill is wholly unacceptable and antithetical to democratic values,” they said.

With gay sex already banned under penalty of life in prison, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill aims to erase any appearance or hint of gayness from the nation.

Calling for penalties that range from three years in prison to execution, the bill criminalizes touching anyone in a gay way; funding or sponsoring gay organizations; broadcasting, publishing or marketing gay material; homosexual advocacy; “aggravated homosexuality”; and the failure by any person to report to police his or her awareness of the existence of a gay person within Uganda’s borders within 24 hours of learning that the homosexual exists.

The legislation also targets gay Ugandans who get married abroad. They would be imprisoned for life if they dared return home.

The bill’s first sentence states: “The object of this Bill is to establish a comprehensive consolidated legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting (i) any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex; and (ii) the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions and other places through or with the support of any Government entity in Uganda or any non governmental organization inside or outside the country.”

For the full text of the draconian measure, see For information on how to help fight the bill, see For Human Rights Watch’s analysis of the bill, see

By Rex Wockner


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