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Congress Issues Bipartisan Resolution on Uganda


A bipartisan group of Congress members have proposed resolutions condemning Uganda's antigay bill as well as similar efforts around the world.

California Democrat Howard Berman introduced a lengthy resolution to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and it has been signed by more than three dozen other members, including Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin, committee ranking Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida (the only Republican), and Congressional Black Caucus chair Barbara Lee of California.

On the Senate side, Democratic senators Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Ben Cardin of Maryland, with Republican senators Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Susan Collins of Maine, issued a less comprehensive resolution.

Both documents ask the Ugandan parliament to reject the bill.

The resolution says the United States cannot support Uganda's efforts to make homosexuality punishable by death because of the "core American principles of equality and 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'" It also says that such laws undermine the United States's efforts to fight HIV and AIDS in the region by stigmatizing and criminalizing vulnerable people.

It also calls on other nations to reject laws that criminalize homosexuality.

Openly gay Congress members Baldwin, Colorado's Jared Polis, and Barney Frank of Massachusetts held a hearing on the situation in Uganda in January.

"The proposed Ugandan bill not only threatens human rights, it also reverses so many of the gains that Uganda has made in the fight against HIV/AIDS," Baldwin said in a statement on Thursday. "This issue has united leaders of different political and religious views in Uganda and worldwide in one common belief in the rights of all human beings regardless of sexual orientation."

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