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RFK Center: Ugandan president to reject ‘fascist’ anti-gay bill

Center delegation met with Yoweri Museveni to discuss legislation

A delegation from the Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights says Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has promised to reject an anti-gay bill that he calls "fascist." Credit:

A release issued by the Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights says Uganda's president has called the current draft of an anti-gay bill "fascist" and has promised to reject it.

A three-person delegation from the center met with President Yoweri Museveni Jan 18 in Entebbe, Uganda, to discuss the legislation, a conversation that Archbishop Desmond Tutu joined by telephone, according to the release. Kerry Kennedy, president of the RFK Center, and Tutu had written to Museveni last month to express their concern about the bill, which lawmakers passed Dec 20.

At the Jan 18 meeting, Museveni said he plans to consult with his party and would like to introduce new legislation that seeks to protect minors from being coerced into sexual activity. The center's delegation "strongly advised" that such a bill should focus on reinforcing already-existing child protection measures, not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and should respect rights to freedom of expression and association.

“I am pleased that President Museveni has upheld his promise to reject any piece of discriminatory legislation,” Kerry Kennedy says. “While we are concerned with plans to move forward with a new bill, we urge the President to ensure it will not discriminate against LGBTI people nor imperil the legitimate work of human rights defenders in the country.”

In a recent letter, Museveni took to task parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga and MPs for passing the anti-gay measure without quorum and despite his advice that it should undergo further study.

In the letter, Museveni called homosexuality "abnormal," saying that sometimes nature goes awry in a "minority of cases," and rejected the idea that homosexuality is "an alternative sexual orientation."

In a Daily Monitor report, he claims that some gay people become homosexual for "mercenary reasons" and are "recruited" with financial incentives. Museveni also offers his view on why women become lesbians, claiming some "go into the practice" because they are sexually starved since they have failed to marry.

He cites economic empowerment as the key remedy for rescuing people from homosexuality.