A new anti-gay law in Uganda has sparked international outrage, and a surprisingly fierce response from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
Despite pressure from world leaders, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law, making it among the strictest anti-LGBT laws in the world.
The law imposes the death penalty for “aggravated” cases, including gay intercourse with someone below the age of 18 or when one of the people involved is infected with illness such as HIV.
Part of the international concern over the bill is that it could prevent people from seeking healthcare in a country that has historically struggled with HIV and AIDS.
Parliamentary speaker Anita Among defended the bill, saying it would “protest the sanctity of family and marriage”.
“We have stood strong to defend the culture, values and aspirations of our people,” she said in a Twitter statement.
The speaker also told reporters that the US had cancelled a visa issued to her in response to the law’s passage.
US Response is Immediate and Bipartisan
The White House issued a statement calling for the immediate repeal of the law.
“This shameful Act is the latest development in an alarming trend of human rights abuses and corruption in Uganda,” President Joe Biden said in the release.
“And we are considering additional steps, including the application of sanctions and restriction of entry into the United States against anyone involved in serious human rights abuses or corruption,” he added.
The US invests nearly $1 billion annually in Uganda.
Another prominent voice against the law came from Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
He tweeted a statement and even included the #LGBTQ hashtag.
“This Uganda law is horrific & wrong. Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is grotesque & an abomination. ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse. #LGBTQ”
Cruz faced criticism from both sides of the aisle for his take on the law.