Uganda President Won’t Approve Anti-Gay Bill Because of Pressure
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni won’t hastily approve a controversial anti-gay bill, despite being pressured by some Ugandan politicians and religious leaders, the Agence France Presse reports.
The southeast African country’s parliament approved the measure on Dec. 20 even though human rights and LGBT rights groups around the world condemned the legislation. Even President Barack Obama called the measure "odious." Nevertheless, Uganda officials called the passage a victory against "evil."
"There has been pressure from religious leaders and parliament to sign the bill into law," presidential spokesman Tamale Mirundi told AFP. Mirundi also said that the president "won’t rush to assent the bill before he studies it" fully. "President Museveni is a practical president, he takes decisions based on analysis and not on how many support or are against it," he added.
The measure, if signed into law, punishes "aggravated homosexuality" with life imprisonment. An earlier draft not approved by parliament had proposed the death penalty for repeat offenders.
Some Ugandans are worried that if the measure becomes law it will restrict donor aid as British tycoon Richard Branson has already urged companies to boycott Uganda over the anti-gay bill. Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the measure "would reinforce stigma and prejudice, and institutionalize discrimination."