The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) calling on members of the Ugandan Parliament to reject the so-called “Anti-Homosexuality Bill.” The bill, which was introduced in the Ugandan parliament in October 2009, would expand penalties for homosexuality in Uganda to include the death penalty, and require citizens to report information about homosexuality to the police or face imprisonment. In addition to condemning the proposed legislation in Uganda, the bipartisan resolution also urges all countries around the world to reject and repeal similar laws that criminalize homosexuality, and encourages the United States Department of State to closely monitor human rights abuses based on sexual orientation. In addition to the proposed bill in Uganda, there are laws on the books in nations around the world criminalizing homosexuality. In several countries including Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, the penalty for homosexuality includes the death penalty.
“I am glad that so many political, religious and civic leaders in Uganda and around the world have spoken out against this hateful and dangerous bill before the Ugandan Parliament. Sadly, this legislation is just one example of actions taken around the world to restrict the rights of people just because of their gender or sexual orientation. We need to speak out consistently against all such discrimination. The Senate’s passage of this resolution begins to move us in that direction, and I will continue working with my colleagues and the administration to continue to address this issue,” said Feingold, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.
The resolution reads:
Calling on members of the Parliament in Uganda to reject the proposed ‘‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’’, and for other purposes.
Whereas a bill introduced on October 14, 2009, by a member of Parliament in Uganda would expand penalties for homosexuality to include the death penalty and requires citizens to report information about homosexuality to the police or face imprisonment;
Whereas many countries criminalize homosexuality, and in some countries, such as Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, the penalty for homosexuality includes the death penalty;
Whereas the United States, in seeking to promote the core American principles of equality and ‘‘Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,’’ has long championed the universality of human rights;
Whereas religious leaders in the United States, along with representatives from the Vatican and the Anglican Church, have stated that laws criminalizing homosexuality are unjust; and
Whereas the people and Government of the United States recognize that such laws undermine our commitment to combating HIV/AIDS globally through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by stigmatizing and criminalizing vulnerable communities: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) calls on members of the Parliament in Uganda to reject the ‘‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’’ recently proposed in that country;
(2) urges the governments of all countries to reject and repeal similar criminalization laws; and
(3) encourages the Secretary of State to closely monitor human rights abuses that occur because of sexual orientation and to encourage the repeal or reform of laws such as the proposed ‘‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’’ in Uganda that permit such abuses.