Sunday, February 16, 2014

Obama decries Uganda anti-gay law

Many homosexuals in sub-Saharan African countries have been severely discriminated against or in most cases, they are thrown in jail. Lesbians, for example, have been "deliberately targeted for sexual violence." Since the colonial-era, homosexuality has been illegal under a law that criminalizes sex acts - being defined as "one of the partners is infected with HIV, sex with minors or the disabled and repeated sexual offenses among consenting adults."

Ugandan lawmakers passed an anti-gay bill in December and although the signing date remains unclear, President Yoweri Museveni is planning to sign the bill. This bill "prescribes life imprisonment for acts of 'aggravated homosexuality'." Many Christian clerics and lawmakers support this bill by arguing that the bill "is needed to deter Western homosexuals from 'recruiting' Ugandan children." However, President Obama said that this bill will further "complicate our valued relationship." (The sum of this "valued relationship" being more than $400 million donated annually to Uganda.) It "will mark a 'step backward' for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on the country's commitment to protect the human rights of its people."

People, such as Susan Rice, have been trying to talk Museveni out of signing the bill. If the bill is signed, "the U.S. could find ways to register disappointment over the law." ("Obama decries Uganda anti-gay law")

There are biases seen with the United States and Uganda. Since many states within the United States are beginning to and/or have accepted nearly every race, religion, sexual orientation, we believe that other countries should do the same too. However, we cannot change the way other countries function simply because we do not like their system. Homosexuality in Uganda has been illegal under a colonial-era law, and the United States wants to come in and tell the Ugandan President not to sign the bill. Whenever we see something that we doesn't fit, we should advocate for change, but changing something so big can only come so quickly. Uganda, on the other hand, should listen to advice and outcries from those within their country and those throughout the world.

What is registering disappointment over the law? How will the U.S. find ways to register disappointment over the law? If the Ugandan President doesn't sign the bill, will the attacks against homosexuals increase, decrease or stay about the same?

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