December 19th, 2009
Timothy Kincaid and I both posted yesterday’s statement by US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson about the U.S.’s concern over Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Timothy relied on a Reuters article, while I used a report from AFP. When I prepared my report, I overlooked this potentially important tidbit from AFP:
He [Carson] added that it is premature for US government to consider withdrawing aid from Uganda because (President Yoweri) Museveni himself said he does not support the legislation and the battle is not yet lost. [Emphasis mine.]
This is missing from the Reuters article, which says instead:
Museveni has been quoted as saying that homosexuality is a Western import, joining some Ugandan and continental religious leaders who believe it is un-African.
As I said on Michelangelo Signorile’s show yesterday, it is extremely difficult to read the tea leaves from some 9,000 miles away. We have no idea whether the AFP report, which paraphrases Carson’s statement, is an accurate representation of what the Assistant Secretary actually said. It’s not not a direct quote and Reuters didn’t mention it. [Update: A State Department spokesman now confirms that Museveni committed privately on at least two occasions to block the anti-gay bill.]
This lends more support to what we’ve observed earlier. On Dec. 10, we noticed an article posted on the official governmental Uganda Media Centre web site questioning Parliament’s priorities in debating the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This is significant because the UMC serves as the official press office of the Ugandan government, and it’s hard to imagine this article appearing without approval, at the very least, from senior governmental officials if not President Museveni himself. As of today, that article is still on the UMC web site, and accessible from the UMC front page.
The next day, we saw an op-ed published in the government-owned New Vision by John Nagenda, a senior advisor to President Museveni. Nagenda was clearer, saying “Parliament should not pass this bill.” I have been following New Vision since the current Ugandan controversies began last February, and this marks the first time that I can recall the government-own paper publishing anything remotely critical of anti-gay efforts.
Then, almost we week later we learn through the Monitor, Uganda’s largest independent newspaper, that Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo has vowed, according to the paper, to “remain silent about the proposed law until it has been passed or defeated.” Buturo had been an extremely loud proponent of the bill, pushing for “strengthening” Uganda’s anti-homosexuality laws ever since the American-led anti-gay conference in Kampala last March. This same Monitor article led of by mentioning President Barack Obama’s statement opposing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, giving ordinary Ugandans their first exposure to Obama’s position. Obama, whose father was of the Luo tribe which lives in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, is revered in Uganda and throughout East Africa.
According to all reports, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is almost certain to pass Parliament, and will probably do so unanimously or by a vote very close to it. It would then by up to President Museveni to either sign or veto the bill. On one hand, I can’t imagine Museveni vetoing the bill while one prevalent argument for the bill is to stand up to pressure from colonial powers. In addition to being deeply homophobic, Uganda is also a very proud nation and many of the bill’s supporters have vowed not to “bend low” before international pressure. On the other hand, there are good, although admittedly tentative and circumstantial signals being sent that this may in fact happen.
There are hopeful signs, but in the end it’s all up to Museveni. And his decision will likely be based on what serves his political interests and not what’s best for the people of Uganda. A Mr. O. Kalinge-Nnyago, writing yesterday for The Monitor, says that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would provide Museveni’s 23-year-old government with a powerful new tool to use against his political opponents to maintain power:
If we let this ill conceived and absurd law to pass, we should also be ready to see it selectively applied to the regime\’s opponents who would be framed when it suits the regime. This is not the first time political opponents have been framed in this country. Former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye was framed for rape.
Who will be the next opposition politician to be arrested for suspected aggravated homosexuality or suspected concealment of homosexual practices? Because homosexuality is an abomination in Uganda, the regime, when it decides to frame you, does not have to prosecute you successfully. It is enough that your name has been dragged in the mud, you have been discredited and that possibly your political career is destroyed. I wouldn\’t trust this human rights abusive regime with any far reaching law.
The question is not whether Parliament will pass the bill. If the bill remains tabled, its passage is assured. The real questions are whether Museveni prevails upon his party in Parliament to withdraw the bill (he controls more than two-thirds of Parliament through his party and the military’s seats) or he vetoes it once it passes. Those questions are much more difficult to answer.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
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