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France and US Embassy Condemn Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill


The Ugandan embassies of France and the United States publicly condemned Uganda's proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill on Monday, but officials in the African nation plan to move forward with the discriminatory legislation.

"France expresses deep concern regarding the bill currently before the Ugandan parliament," the French foreign ministry said in a statement sent to Agence France-Presse in Kampala. "France reiterates its commitment to the decriminalization of homosexuality and the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity."

The bill would amplify the country's antigay laws, including criminalizing any public discussion of homosexuality and penalizing individuals who knowingly rented property to a homosexual.

Also on Monday, Joann Lockard, the Ugandan embassy's public affairs officer, stated disapproval of the proposed legislation.

"If adopted, a bill further criminalizing homosexuality would constitute a significant step backwards for the protection of human rights in Uganda," Lockard said in an e-mail, reports AFP. "We urge states to take all necessary measures to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests, or detention."

There has been no official word from the U.S. federal government, but Human Rights Watch reported that four members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including out congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, have written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the bill.

The representatives want Clinton to denounce the bill, arguing that its passage would undermine the effectiveness of American taxpayer funds spent in Uganda to help curb HIV and AIDS.

In an article published in Uganda's Observer newspaper on Monday, the author of the bill, lawmaker David Bahati, argued that "homosexuality is not a human right."

"The fact that the moral fabric of America and Europe has been put under siege by the supporters of this creeping evil of homosexuality should not suggest that we follow suit," said Bahati, reports AFP.

Uganda's minister for ethics and integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, said last week that Uganda has no intention of heeding the advice of foreigners on the issue of homosexuality.

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