Obama gives harsh condemnation of Ugandan gay bill
Barack Obama, at National Prayer Breakfast 2-4-10"We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are -- whether it's here in the United States or ... more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda," Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast.
At the annual national prayer breakfast in Washington, DC, President Barack Obama had strong words of condemnation for Uganda's legislature on homosexuality.
Obama called the legal precepts in the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill "odious".
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also spoke at the breakfast, and criticized the bill being considered by Uganda's parliament.
A State Department official verifies that in late December, Clinton spoke by phone with the president of Uganda, and voiced her strong concerns about the bill. Pressure from western governments has been intense on the east African government due to this proposed legislation.
The high commissioner to the UN for Human Rights said it would prohibit viewing homosexuality as acceptable.
Pillay said the draft law would breach international standards and it "proposes draconian punishments for people alleged to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered -- namely life imprisonment, or in some cases, the death penalty."
It could lead to a prison sentence of up to three years for anyone failing to report within 24 hours the identities of any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered person, she added.
Uganda's Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo has said a revised law would probably limit the maximum penalty for those convicted to life in prison rather than execution.
Obama, who won strong backing from homosexual voters in the 2008 presidential election, has promised to fight on their behalf.
In his State of the Union address last week, he said he would seek the repeal of the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that permits gays to serve in uniform as long as they hide their sexual orientation.