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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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February 16, 2014 - 2:34 pm

President Obama threatened Sunday that U.S. relations with Uganda could be on the rocks as President Yoweri Museveni was poised to sign a bill that hands down a sentence of life in prison for many same-sex acts.

Originally dubbed the “kill the gays bill” for its death penalty provisions, the legislation was passed in the Ugandan parliament in December with the capital punishment reduced to life imprisonment.

Also receiving prison time under the bill would be those who don’t report gays to the government or any organizations or individuals that support gay rights. Ugandans can also be sentenced for attempted homosexual acts or same-sex activity committed outside the country.

A government spokesman tweeted Friday that Museveni would sign the bill after studying it since its passage.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice hopped on the phone Saturday night to try to convince Museveni to not sign the bill. “People everywhere deserve freedom, justice, and equality. No one should be discriminated against for who they are or whom they love,” Rice tweeted.

Obama followed with a special statement on the bill, something he doesn’t frequently do on foreign policy matters.

“As a country and a people, the United States has consistently stood for the protection of fundamental freedoms and universal human rights. We believe that people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love,” Obama said.

“That is why I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, once law, 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. It also will mark a serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights,” he continued.

Same-sex relationships have been illegal in Uganda since the colonial era, currently punishable by up to 14 years behind bars.

“As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda,” Obama said. “At a time when, tragically, we are seeing an increase in reports of violence and harassment targeting members of the LGBT community from Russia to Nigeria, I salute all those in Uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons.”

The U.S. has threatened in years past to cut aid to Uganda because of its anti-gay laws. In addition to being Uganda’s largest bilateral donor with hundreds of millions in assistance each year, the U.S. has increased its military partnership with the sub-Saharan nation particularly in the hunt for warlord Joseph Kony.

“It is disheartening that parliament has passed a bill that will prevent civil society from even discussing human rights, including the right to health, for LGBT people,” said Hassan Shire Sheikh, executive director of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project. “This bill sets a dangerous precedent by stifling dissent. If today it is those who support the rights of LGBT people, who will it be tomorrow?”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Wait a minute!

What happened to multiculturalism and all cultures are equal? What gives us the right to impose our values on our African brothers and sisters?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love,” Obama said.

“That is why I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality."

But he doesn't have any trouble with similar legislation in muslim countries.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (23)
All Comments   (23)
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Uh, yeah, I don't think they'd find this issue any more appealing if Uganda isn't going to spread oppression to any other group but keeps it just gays.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
All cultures are equal but some are more equal than the others. I think I get it.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The post-modern paradox is coming into play everywhere. You can not both celebrate the equal validity of every human culture and implement a philosophy of universal human rights at the same time.

As usual, they thought, the world, things, will just work out. Once we hold the reigns everything will just fall into place. Yes, the world is anti-American as you wanted it, but now you cant control the kids at all-my my, what are we gonna do?








36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was wondering just today when PJ Media would get back on its anti-heterosexual and anti-Christian social agenda, and what its next inflamatory innuendo would be.

Its continues PJ Media's offensive degradation of both reporting and of logic and of language itself.

'..."enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda,” Obama said.' So, let me get this straight: Obama and Museveni are in a "valued relationship". They are of the same sex. They are engaged in meaningful communication. These are very clearly "same-sex acts". No sexual acts are actually involved between Obama and Museveni, but then again neither are sexual acts mentioned in the reporting here.

I suppose if that's the extent of the same-sex argument, I have missed it altogether. Or perhaps PJ Media wants to conduct a debate without actually discussing the subject matter. Obama is smiling down from his pedestal at the linguistic obfuscation.

And I generally like Bridget Johnson's writing. Maybe it was the editing.

36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy Flicker
If you believe PJM's articles and commentary lean anti-Christian or anti-heterosexual, your standard of purity is hard to determine.
Although PJM hasn't called for making homosexual conduct or homosexuality illegal, its writers and commenters generally have a worried view on the topic. PJM has also been very forthright about the abuses of the rights of those who do not want to take part in same-sex marriage or to support same-sex relationships. Most of the writers here go no further than grudging tolerance.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
the only version of cultural diversity Dear Leader will accept is his version
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"..life in prison for many same-sex acts."

How far we've come in the propgandizing of language.

What in the world is wrong with a "same-sex" act? I thought the vast majority of boxing was a same-sex act. Every world championship chess match has been a same-sex act.

Every NFL superbowl has been same-sex. Maybe "same-sex acts" was just a typo.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The US has unwritten laws against same sect acts in regard to its apparent attitude toward Christianity and Judaism so I fail to see Obama's problem in a purely homophonic sense.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm wondering what Obama means when he uses, "universal human rights" as a bludgeon so often. "Equal" things and not equality treatment under the law is something he spends time pounding us with ... Words, just words ... he's so full of bull poop is sad.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Should Jerry Sandusky be jailed for who he is, or who he loves? Yes!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sandusky was convicted of mistreating minors, and very young minors at that. His conduct would be equally despicable whether he mistreated boys, girls, or both.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is this the same president who bowed to the Saudi leader, a country where they already have penalties for being homosexual?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the US was less pro-homosexual, there'd be one less reason for the muslims to take it out. One needs one's justifications.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The benefit of not going to college is that you do not throw natural law out the door.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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