Despite promises not to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill until he had heard from U.S. scientists, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has broken that promise and put the lives of every LGBTQ Ugandan in jeopardy.
The now-signed law carries a penalty of 14 years in prison for first-time convictions of homosexuality, life-in-prison sentences for “aggravated homosexuality,” and, like Russia, criminalizes “advocacy” for LGBTQ issues. International outcry over the Anti-Homosexuality Bill since it was introduced in 2009 succeeded in removing the death penalty.
“Museveni has kept his promise to ‘declare war’ on LGBTQ persons,” says Political Research Associates’ senior religion and sexuality researcher, Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma. “By signing the law, Museveni has given in to the whispers and urges he has been getting from U.S. evangelicals for decades. It is no accident that nearly identical laws and talking points have surfaced in Uganda, Nigeria, Russia, and other countries. The work of Americans like Scott Lively, Lou Engle, and Rick Warren advocating for these laws in these countries has been consistent, strong, and effective, and the blood of LGBTQ persons in Africa, Russia, and Eastern Europe is on their hands.”
Kaoma was the first researcher to expose the strong ties behind U.S.-based conservatives and the anti-LGBTQ movement in African countries. His work is documented in two comprehensive reports, Colonizing African Values and Globalizing the Culture Wars, which have become foundational primers on the exportation of U.S. attacks on LGBTQ and reproductive justice abroad. His work is also featured in the award-winning documentary, God Loves Uganda.
“Listening to President Museveni, MP David Bahati, and Ugandan religious leaders like Pastor Martin Ssempa, you would think you were listening to American religious conservatives with a Ugandan accent,” says Tarso Luís Ramos, executive director of Political Research Associates. “These are the very same talking points used by Scott Lively, who has been charged with ‘crimes against humanity’ here in the U.S. for conspiring with Ugandan pastors and members of Parliament to violate the human rights of that country’s LGBTQ community. When Museveni calls for ‘a scientifically correct’ position on homosexuality, he is echoing the pseudo-psychiatry of discredited American figures like former Exodus International official Don Schmierer. I am disappointed but not surprised.”
“There is no longer any excuse for Americans or any other people of integrity to sit back and passively watch the systematic destruction of their brothers and sisters in Africa,” added Victor Mukasa, co-founder of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and an associate fellow at Political Research Associates. “Now is the time to step forward and work with the LGBTQ activists on the ground to demand fair human rights for all.”
Background on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and how U.S. evangelicals came to be involved, can be found at www.politicalresearch.org/Africa