Coons: Uganda’s anti-gay bill is ‘shameful’

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) condemned Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni Monday for signing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

“The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons are universal human rights and deserve to be respected around the world,” Coons said Monday. “The shameful Anti-Homosexuality Bill that President Museveni signed into law today goes far beyond discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

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The bill makes homosexual acts punishable with life imprisonment and requires Ugandan citizens to report people they know to be gay or to face criminal consequences.

Coons said there should be diplomatic consequences for countries that pass such laws.

“This law is a setback for human rights around the world and will endanger Uganda’s relationship with the United States,” Coons said. “There should be consequences for such action, not just in Uganda, but also in Nigeria, Russia, and anywhere else in the world where LGBT rights and other human rights are being legally restricted.

“For there to be no diplomatic or developmental consequence for the enactment of these laws would be to set a dangerous precedent for America’s foreign policy.”

Coons said Uganda’s new law “promotes a climate of oppression and fear” and suggested that the Obama administration’s foreign policy be tied values and the protection of human rights.

Coons is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on African Affairs.