February 04, 2010
CARDIN, FEINGOLD, COBURN, COLLINS INTRODUCE RESOLUTION CONDEMNING UGANDA ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL AND SIMILAR EFFORTS WORLDWIDE
Bipartisan Resolution Urges All Countries to Reject and Repeal Laws Criminalizing Homosexuality
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), with Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) today have introduced a resolution calling on members of the Ugandan Parliament to reject the so-called "Anti-Homosexuality Bill." The bill, which was introduced in the Ugandan parliament in October 2009, would expand penalties for homosexuality in Uganda to include the death penalty, and require citizens to report information about homosexuality to the police or face imprisonment.
In addition to condemning the proposed legislation in Uganda, the bipartisan resolution also urges all countries around the world to reject and repeal similar laws that criminalize homosexuality, and encourages the United States Department of State to closely monitor human rights abuses that occur because of sexual orientation. In addition to the proposed bill in Uganda, there are laws on the books in nations around the world criminalizing homosexuality. In several countries including Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, the penalty for homosexuality includes the death penalty.
"Legislating prejudice is wrong for any government in any country. The Ugandan Parliament must not pass this serious breach of human rights and basic tolerance. Ugandans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or HIV-positive, should not live in fear or be punished for simply living their lives," said Senator Cardin, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and also serves as chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission. In January, Senator Cardin led a group of a dozen senators writing to Ugandan President Yoweri Musseveni to do everything within his power to block enactment of the law.
The Senate resolution reads:
Calling on members of the Parliament in Uganda to reject the proposed ''Anti-Homosexuality Bill'', and for other purposes.
Whereas a bill introduced on October 14, 2009, by a member of Parliament in Uganda would expand penalties for homosexuality to include the death penalty and requires citizens to report information about homosexuality to the police or face imprisonment;
Whereas many countries criminalize homosexuality, and in some countries, such as Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, the penalty for homosexuality includes the death penalty;
Whereas the United States, in seeking to promote the core American principles of equality and ''Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,'' has long championed the universality
of human rights;
Whereas religious leaders in the United States, along with representatives from the Vatican and the Anglican Church, have stated that laws criminalizing homosexuality are unjust; and
Whereas the people and Government of the United States recognize that such laws undermine our commitment to combating HIV/AIDS globally through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by stigmatizing and criminalizing vulnerable communities: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate-
(1) calls on members of the Parliament in Uganda to reject the ''Anti-Homosexuality Bill'' recently proposed in that country;
(2) urges the governments of all countries to reject and repeal similar criminalization laws; and
(3) encourages the Secretary of State to closely monitor human rights abuses that occur because of sexual orientation and to encourage the repeal or reform of laws such as the proposed ''Anti-Homosexuality Bill'' in Uganda that permit such abuses.
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