Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed the draconian law that will put LGBT people in prison for life. The BBC reports:
The new law punishes first-time offenders with 14 years in jail, and allows life imprisonment as the penalty for acts of "aggravated homosexuality".
It also makes it a crime not to report gay people - in effect making it impossible to live as openly gay.
It criminalises the "promotion" and even the mere "recognition" of homosexual relations "through or with the support of any government entity in Uganda or any other non-governmental organisation inside or outside the country".
Lesbians are covered by the bill for the first time.
"Make no mistake, LGBT Ugandans and their loved ones are now in grave danger, because of this draconian law," said GLAAD's National Spokesperson, Omar Sharif, Jr. "The world needs to speak out strongly against laws like this, whether they appear in Uganda, Russia, or even Arizona."
LGBT Ugandans are understandably scared. This bill has been threatened since 2009, when it met with huge international opposition. It's passage and signature from the president has elicited strong reactions from around the world.
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, slammed the law, comparing it to Nazi Germany and his own country's history of Apartheid. He has spoken out against the law previously:
We must be entirely clear about this: the history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste, and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only the grace of God. There is no scientific justification for prejudice and discrimination, ever. And nor is there any moral justification. Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa, among others, attest to these facts.
The White House has also issued a statement, condemning the law:
Instead of standing on the side of freedom, justice, and equal rights for its people, today, regrettably, Ugandan President Museveni took Uganda a step backward by signing into law legislation criminalizing homosexuality. As President Obama has said, this law is more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda, it reflects poorly on the country's commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and will undermine public health, including efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. We will continue to urge the Ugandan government to repeal this abhorrent law and to advocate for the protection of the universal human rights of LGBT persons in Uganda and around the world.
US-based faith leaders are reacting strongly to the law.
My heart hurts today for my brothers and sisters. I pray for their safety, as they are compromised in the midst of this political power grab and uninformed homophobia that is masquerading as righteousness. Imagine the fear and instability this kind of legislation will also bring to families and friends of our LGBT sisters and brothers. Anyone who knows the heart of God, also knows this cannot be the will of God. I am confident that truth and love will prevail because at the end of the day, God has the last word. We are all leaning on God's everlasting arm. - Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship
May our thoughts and prayers be with the LGBTI people and their families in Uganda, the Kuchu Diaspora Alliance, and our global LGBTI family around the world. This is not the last word in Uganda, of course, and at this time let us pause for moments of solemn solidarity and then return to the work of solidarity, equality and justice. - Michael J. Adee, Ph.D., Global Faith & Justice Project of the Horizons Foundation
Our hearts break as we think about the unthinkable. The new law in Uganda is surely as heinous an attack on humanity and human rights as we have witnessed in the 21st century. The fact that U.S. so called religious voices have supported and encouraged this law is disgraceful We pray for the safety and well-being of LGBT people in Uganda and their families, and urge the U.S. government to respond swiftly to this violation. We pray for a day when all will see that sexual and gender diversity is part of God's blessing to us all. - Rev. Debra W. Haffner, Co-founder and President of the Religious Institute, Inc.
Our hearts and souls are joined with the people of Uganda, especially those whose lives and liberty are threatened by this horrific injustice. We pray that the majority of people, law enforcers, and those in government will continue to live in the recognition that all people embody the Divine, and pledge renewed vigor in working to overturn such discrimination. We call on the people and officials of the Catholic Church worldwide to recognize that such laws perpetrate violence on the entire body of Christ, and to lead efforts to repeal this and similar laws. - Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, DignityUSA
May those responsible for the anti-homosexuality law in Uganda be healed in heart mind and soul. May their fear be vanquished, opening them to the grace, beauty and vitality of people of all gender identities and sexual orientations, resulting in the repeal of this law. May our LGBTQ comrades find safety, feel loved and be clear that they are part of G-d’s intentional Creation, beloved, manifesting an aspect of G-dself in our corporeal world necessary for the elevation of all consciousness. - Rabbi Debra Kolodny, Executive Director, Nehirim
“Right now, we have heard from LGBTQ people in Uganda who are fleeing their homes to avoid being beaten or imprisoned. It is far past the time when religious people should be speaking against this vicious persecution. Persecution and brutality are not cultural differences; these are crimes against humanity!" - Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches