June 27, 2024

Takano, Beatty Lead 21 U.S. Reps. in Introducing Resolution Condemning Uganda’s Deadly Anti-LGBTQ+ Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Reps. Mark Takano (CA-39) and Joyce Beatty (OH-03) led 21 Members of Congress (co-sponsoring U.S. Reps. include Becca Balint, Lloyd Doggett, Adriano Espaillat, Robert Garcia, Sylvia Garcia, Josh Gottheimer, Raúl Grijalva, Pramila Jayapal, Hank Johnson, Gwen Moore, Seth Moulton, Jerry Nadler, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mark Pocan, Delia Ramirez, Linda Sánchez, Jan Schakowsky, Brad Sherman, Rashida Tlaib, Ritchie Torres, Debbie Wasserman Schultz) in introducing a House resolution denouncing Uganda’s ‘Anti-Homosexuality Act’ which was signed into law earlier this year and recently upheld by the country’s Constitutional Court. In addition to calling for the law’s repeal, the resolution supports the continuation of existing sanctions imposed on current and former Ugandan officials involved in repressing marginalized populations. 

The Anti-Homosexuality Act includes serve punishments including: 

·         Life imprisonment for consensual same-sex sexual conduct 

·         The death penalty for individuals who commit the ‘offence of homosexuality” under certain circumstances 

·         Twenty years of imprisonment for the “promotion of homosexuality,” which includes operating an organization that “promotes or encourages homosexuality or the observance and normalization of [homosexual] conduct.”

“It is difficult to overstate the gross inhumanity of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act,” said Congressman Takano. “Instead of focusing on rooting out corruption or ending extrajudicial killings, the Ugandan Parliament, President, and Constitutional Court have chosen to mark LGBTQ+ Ugandans as less than human. Congress must not be silent in the face of such systematic, state-sponsored discrimination. To all those LGBTQ+ people and your allies in Uganda—we see you. We and the Biden Administration will not allow this terrible violation of basic dignity to go unchallenged.”

“When Ugandan President Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act into law— one of the harshest anti-LGBTQI+ laws the world has seen— he, alongside the Parliament, signaled to members of the LGBTQI+ community that there is no place in the country that they will be safe from persecution,” said Congresswoman Beatty. “This draconian law stands in clear violation of universal human rights and has already resulted in catastrophic personal outcomes for LGBTQI+ Ugandans, further discouraging them from seeking vital health services and facilitating a culture that supports state-sponsored violence. This resolution shows that members of the United States Congress stand with LGBTQI+ Ugandans and demands immediate repeal of this unjust law so that all Ugandans can lead safe, healthy lives free from fear.”

This law is already having deadly, real-world consequences. Many LGBTQ+ Ugandans have gone underground, fearful of the Anti-Homosexuality Act. Michael Opolot was the one of the first people charged with “aggravated homosexuality” in Uganda and has been held in prison for over 300 days unjustly. At a recent court hearing, prosecutors modified their indictment to drop the charges using the Anti-Homosexuality Act, but Mr. Opolot is still in prison and charged with violating the country’s extreme anti-sodomy law—which carries a 14-year-long sentence. 

Full text of the resolution can be found here.