Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed into law Monday, February 24, the “Anti-Homexuality” bill, which stiffens penalties against homosexuality, already criminal under Ugandan law.
The legislation was first proposed in 2009 and passed last year. Museveni said he would sign it, then that he wanted the U.S. to tell him whether homosexuality was a choice or a trait, before saying no, he would sign it after all.
The Ugandan government do not appear to have put anything up about the signing of the bill into law on their “Media Centre” website, but did run a “press statement” from the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council that lauded Museveni for his “courage” in signing the bill despite pressure from the West, and offered that the law would “strengthen the fight” against homosexuality, “this foreign and inhuman act.”
The Monitor of Uganda has Museveni’s full statement, where the president suggests “the topic of homosexuals was provoked by the arrogant and careless Western groups that are fond of coming into our schools and recruiting young children into homosexuality and lesbianism” and that he “didn’t pay much attention” at first because he had “immediate issues” like defense, electricity, and the roads.
President Obama said in a statement last week he was “deeply disappointed” that the bill would be signed into law, and that it would “complicate our valued relationship with Uganda.” In 2011, Obama deployed 100 troops to Uganda to hunt for local war criminal Joseph Kony. Last year in Senegal, where homosexuality is also criminalized, Obama said “we” had to “respect the diversity of views that are here.”
UPDATE: A Ugandan tabloid has published a list of the country's "200 top homosexuals."
UPDATE: The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway have frozen or redirected millions in aid to the country. According to Secretary of State John Kerry, the United States is reviewing its relationship with Uganda after the president signed the law.
UPDATE: Uganda's health minister insists gays will continue to get healthcare.
UPDATE (6:45 p.m. ET 2/26/14): Secreary of State John Kerry has likened Uganda's anti-gay bill to nazism and apartheid saying, "You could change the focus of this legislation to black or... Jewish, and you could be in 1930s Germany or you could be in 1950s, 60s apartheid South Africa."
UPDATE: (8:37 a.m. ET 2/27/14): At least three European countries have already begun the process of cutting foreign aid to Uganda.
UPDATE: (1:12 P.M. ET 2/28/14): The World Bank has postponed a $90 million loan to Uganda in response to the recent passage of homophobic legislation.