The US urges Uganda to ‘stop enactment’ of anti-gay law

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The US has urged Uganda to cease the enactment of an anti-gay law passed by the country’s parliament on Friday.

On Friday, MPs in Uganda passed legislation to toughen the punishment for same-sex sexual activity, including life imprisonment for all same-sex sexual behaviour – not just the current life tariff for anal intercourse. 

The bill increases the penalty for other acts – including mere sexual touching – from seven years to life imprisonment.

In a State Department statement, the US was heavily critical of the law.

The statement said: “We condemn legislation that criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults or criminalises simply being of a particular sexual orientation or gender identity.”

It went on to say that the US “respects the sovereignty of Uganda and the prerogatives of its parliament to pass legislation.”

“Nevertheless… we oppose any legislation that undermines a person’s enjoyment of his or her human rights.”

The message also noted that “a number of Ugandan government institutions have already spoken out against further criminalisation of homosexuality.”

This statement came along the same lines as the statement made by President Obama, who called the law, when it was proposed, “odious”.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office late on Friday condemned the Ugandan Parliament for passing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, warning it will ”damage the rights of people belonging to minority groups, and Uganda’s international reputation.”