President Barack Obama on Thursday sharply criticized the proposed anti-gay laws in Uganda that has drawn international condemnation for its severely penalties for homosexual behavior.
“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 (Clinton) mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda,” Obama said in his remarks this morning at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
The president’s comments came after protests at his attending the prayer breakfast, an annual bipartisan gathering of religious and political leaders, because of its sponsorship by the Fellowship Foundation.
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Protesters claim the foundation has promoted the legislation –- which criminalizes homosexuality with jail terms or death sentences -– although the organization denies any such link.
Homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, but the proposed legislation would raise that penalty to life in prison.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking before Obama, also criticized the measure being considered in Uganda’s parliament, said she had spoken to Uganda’s President President Yoweri “expressed the strongest concerns” about the legislation.
And, U.S. lawmakers this week introduced resolutions in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, condemning the Ugandan legislation, calling it an attack on human rights and an obstacle to battling HIV/AIDS.
The President’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast can be viewed here: