BY Kerry Eleveld
November 30 2009 7:00 PM ET
“They have been working for several weeks behind the scenes at a senior level within the department to determine what the actual facts are and what the likelihood is of this bill becoming law,” said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The source said the diplomatic goal was to strike a forceful tone that stopped short of shaming President Museveni, who has yet to take an official stand on the legislation, which was introduced by a lawmaker in his own party, member of parliament David Bahati.
“They are trying to proceed in a way that gives them some private leverage but also acknowledges that Secretary Clinton has an obligation to speak out on human rights issues in her capacity as our top international diplomat,” said the source. “It's been a delicate effort with inconclusive results.”
Elly Tebasoboke Katabira, a native Ugandan and president-elect of the International AIDS Society, said that if President Museveni denounces the measure, it could ultimately kill the legislation.
“Remember, it was written by a person from his own party,” explained Katabira, “so that person would be very reluctant to push something that was not acceptable to the president.”
Katabira added that Clinton’s comments condemning homophobia were “extremely important” since attitudes in so many sub-Sahara African countries mirror those in Uganda.
“I wish what Secretary Clinton said could be made available to many leaders in our region, because then they would know that they don't have the support of other countries including the U.S.,” he said after the press conference.
The full text of Clinton's remarks can be viewed on the next page.