Hey, do you think the White House read my guest post on the web of horror related to Uganda's bill that threatened life in prison or the death penalty for gays and those with AIDS over on DKos?
Seriously, this is a step that the White House and the President needed to take a long time ago. It's one thing to leave condemnation of this kind of action to your Secretary of State — you don't wait until the hate is so obvious, even to some Republicans (and Rick Warren) before you speak out on this human rights issue, particularly as a “fierce advocate” for LGBT rights. (The Advocate):
In its strongest statement yet, the Obama Administration condemned a homophobic Ugandan bill that would carry a death sentence for acts of homosexuality in some cases.
“The President strongly opposes efforts, such as the draft law pending in Uganda, that would criminalize homosexuality and move against the tide of history,” read the White House statement that came late Friday in response to an inquiry from The Advocate.
But according to reporting by Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin, the tide may be starting to turn on the bill. A senior advisor to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni penned an opinion piece Friday in the state-run newspaper that referred to the measure as “draconian” and concluded “…hunting down people for same-sex love, I believe to be a sin, against Love, one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind. (I say all this without being a homosexual.) Parliament should not pass this Bill.”
Cynically speaking, the tardiness and timing of this appropriate response almost makes you believe there was a target level of opposition to this bill that needed to be reached before the President's statement would be deemed not a political risk.
However meaningful this statement may be, a real test of this President related to human rights in Uganda would be to call for a halt to aid until the institutionalized homophobia is stopped. After all, our taxes are going to fund bigotry.