News release from Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee -
For IMMEDIATE Release
Ros-Lehtinen Calls on Ugandan Government to Reject Impending Anti-Gay Legislation
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today called on the Ugandan government to reject legislation being considered now in the Ugandan legislature to impose harsh jail sentences and even the death penalty on some homosexuals living there. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“I am deeply saddened and troubled that such blatantly ignorant and hate-filled legislation would see the light of day anywhere in today’s world. It needs to be stopped in its tracks immediately.
“Ugandan leaders must come to their senses and reject this impending massive blow to human rights and decency in their country.
“As I stated in a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, it is deplorable that the Ugandan government would consider singling out any group of people – in this case, gays – for legalized condemnation and harassment.
“Also troubling is the effect that such fear-mongering could have on the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda.
“I have received assurances from the State Department that the Administration is equally concerned. I intend to ensure that the U.S. follows through with appropriate action if this measure takes effect.”
Note: In October, Ros-Lehtinen and three other Members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Secretary of State Clinton expressing grave concern over the legislation, stating, “This egregious bill represents one of the most extreme anti-equality measures ever proposed in any country and would create a legal pretext for depriving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans of their liberty, and even their lives.”
In a response dated November 25, 2009, the Department of State wrote, “the United States has urged Uganda to take all necessary measures to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, harassment, or discrimination,” and pledged to continue to monitor the legislation’s progress.