An antigay conservative group with high-powered U.S. political allies has used its influence to support a proposed Ugandan law that would impose the death penalty on "repeat offenders" engaging in gay sex.
David Bahati, a Ugandan lawmaker and member of the fundamentalist group The Family, sponsored the antigay legislation and has received millions of dollars in funding through the organization’s African outreach programs. The Family has also cultivated a "deep relationship" with Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni (pictured, right), Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, said in a Tuesday interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross on National Public Radio.
Sharlet detailed The Family's connections with Capitol Hill powers-that-be, including Nevada senator John Ensign (pictured, left) and Kansas senator Sam Brownback. “Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma boasts of traveling around the world, doing The Family's political business, he said. "[Oklahoma] Senator Tom Coburn has done the same thing. [Iowa] Senator Chuck Grassley has been very involved in African affairs on behalf of The Family. Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming is a part of it.”
Though gay sex is already criminalized in Uganda, the proposed legislation currently before parliament would add a specific clause called “aggravated homosexuality,” which would impose the death penalty on so-called repeat offenders as well as those who have HIV and engage in sex. Even failure to report a gay person to authorities could result in a lengthy prison sentence.
The transcript of the interview is available here.