At last week’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama took the opportunity to finally say something about the Uganda bill we’ve talked about on Akimbo before. While it’s not the strong condemnation we would like, it is a step beyond the previous White House statement, which registered opposition without much context. President Obama said the following (full text here):
“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, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda.”
Clinton, who also spoke at the breakfast, went a step farther, pointing out that “gays and lesbians … deserve to be treated as full human beings.” See the full text of her speech here.
The Felllowship, the US organization commonly known as the Family, who organizes the National Prayer Breakfast and has been strongly linked to the drafting of the Uganda bill, seems to be feeling the pressure. David Bahati, the Ugandan Member of Parliament who wrote the bill, had initially been invited to the breakfast, but a spokesperson confirmed that he’d been uninvited since the bill went public, saying “The National Prayer Breakfast is an organization that builds bridges of understanding between all peoples, religions and beliefs and has never advocated the sentiments expressed in Mr. Bahati’s legislation.”
It remains to be seen whether any of the international attention will have a positive affect on the Uganda law, but we’re happy to see the issue staying on the radar.
Chelsea Ricker is the Program Assistant for Africa at the International Women’s Health Coalition. You can view her bio here.