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US 'concern' over Uganda anti-gay bill

26 december 2013, 11:46
0
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. ©AFP
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. ©AFP
The United States voiced concern on Tuesday over a draconian anti-homosexuality bill passed by Uganda's parliament, AFP reports.

"We are deeply concerned by the Ugandan Parliament's passage of anti-homosexuality legislation," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

"As Americans, we believe that people everywhere deserve to live in freedom and equality -- and that no-one should face violence or discrimination for who they are or whom they love."

The Ugandan bill would make homosexuality punishable by up to life in prison if it is eventually signed into law.

It easily passed through Uganda's parliament last week after a death penalty clause was dropped.

Activists fear Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, an evangelical Christian, is likely to approve the bill, which has widespread support in a country where homophobia is rampant.

Gay Ugandans face frequent harassment and threats of violence, and rights activists have also reported cases of lesbians being subjected to "corrective" rapes.

Anti-gay moves by Ugandan lawmakers have been widely condemned, with US President Barack Obama describing the bill before it was passed as "odious" and South African Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu comparing it to apartheid.

Uganda is a long-time ally of the United States with close military ties, although former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized officials in 2012 during a trip to Kampala when an even more repressive anti-gay bill was being mooted.

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