Don't Sign Uganda Anti-Gay Law

President Yoweri Museveni Should Stand Against Bigotry

Stop the Hate: Protesters tried to deliver a petition urging Uganda President Yoweri Museveni to veto anti-gay legislation.
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Stop the Hate: Protesters tried to deliver a petition urging Uganda President Yoweri Museveni to veto anti-gay legislation.

By Ruth Messinger

Published February 16, 2014.
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The following is an open letter to Uganda President Yoweri Museveni

Dear President Museveni:

This week I received a call for help from your people that I cannot ignore. My lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friends and colleagues in Uganda are frightened, and I am concerned that they have every reason to be. Over the past several years they have been victimized by vicious verbal attacks and hate crimes. In 2011 David Kato, a prominent gay activist, was beaten to death after a Ugandan newspaper featured pictures of him and other gay Ugandans under the headline “Hang Them.”

Tragically, Uganda’s parliament passed an anti-homosexuality bill in December, a bill that we most respectfully implore you not to sign.

In the days leading up to the bill’s passage, LGBT activists were arrested and paraded before the media. My Ugandan friends tell me that they now fear arrest and attacks by their neighbors, forcing them to stay at home and limit their movements.

As a community of faith, we felt that it was particularly important that you hear from us. In March 2009 three American evangelical Christians traveled to Uganda to preach anti-gay rhetoric and fuel the anti-LGBT agenda in your country. Their lectures, heard by thousands of Ugandans, including teachers, police and politicians, are widely credited with inspiring the anti-homosexuality bill, which was introduced just one month later. As documented extensively in the film God Loves Uganda, these missionaries have remained involved since, working with Ugandan legislators on drafting the bill and continuing their hateful anti-LGBT organizing. These missionaries claimed to speak on behalf of God, but you and I know there is nothing godly about hate.

We feel it is important that you know that many Americans and many people of faith around the globe are vehemently opposed to this bill. We believe in the dignity of all humans, because we believe that each and every one of us is made in the image of God.

While you and I may disagree on the nature of homosexuality, Mr. President, I know we can agree that the bill before you now would violate the God-given dignity of too many Ugandans.

Among the bill’s many cruel and unconscionable provisions is the maximum penalty of life imprisonment for what the law characterizes as repeated homosexual behavior. It also criminalizes what it describes as the promotion of homosexuality, which includes funding organizations that provide basic services, such as health care, to LGBT people or to those who support the legal and human rights of sexual minorities.


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