RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Barack Obama issued a statement on Sunday expressing his opposition to the intentions of Ugandan President Yoweri Musevini to sign legislation criminalizing homosexuality in the country.
Obama was golfing at a private course in Rancho Mirage, California when the written statement was released.
“I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality,” Obama stated. “The anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda.”
He suggested that the legislation would harm the country’s relations with the United States.
“As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda,” he said. “[And it] will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda.”
“It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people,” Obama asserted.
As previously reported, lawmakers in Uganda have been working to criminalize homosexual behavior in the country for over a year, and have been under intense international pressure to back down from their efforts. However, religious groups in Uganda have been urging parliament to pass legislation to protect social and personal morality in the nation.
“Speaker, we cannot sit back while such [a] destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation,” stated a petition presented to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga in 2012 from citizens supportive of the bill. “We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament … so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation.”
When questioned about the matter, Kadaga stated that she believed that parliament needed to heed the voice of the people.
“Who are we not to do what they have told us?” she said. “These people should not be begging us.”
“The most impressive part of this struggle here is that even non-Christians — like Muslims — are also at the forefront of advocating for the passing of the bill,” Restore Uganda director Okumu Yudah Tadeo told Christian News Network. “According to Uganda’s cultural and religious values that have helped to keep morals in the country, it is in Uganda’s best interest to keep up the good morals and Godly values in this generation and the generations to come.”
The legislation opposed by Obama and other U.S. officials would require life imprisonment for those who engage in “aggravated homosexuality,” meaning those who intentionally spread the HIV virus, commit homosexual pedophilia, or repeatedly engage in sex acts with those of the same gender.
President Musevini has previously expressed opposition to the bill, stating that he believed that homosexuals are “sick,” but should not be imprisoned. However, he also rejected the idea of homosexuality simply being considered an alternative lifestyle.
“You cannot call an abnormality an alternative orientation,” he said. “It could be that the Western societies, on account of random breeding, have generated many abnormal people.”