Uganda’s Proposed Anti-Gay Legislation

Crossposted from Standing on the Side of Love When I was 18 years old I spent three months in Kenya for a service learning opportunity. During one long weekend we traveled across the border to Kampala, Uganda. I was blown away. Our hosts were incredibly hospitable, the streets felt safe, and the city was rich in culture and well developed. I have nothing but positive memories of my time in Uganda.Then, during the past four years, I spent a lot of time working on HIV/AIDS policy and came to admire Uganda’s success in addressing HIV/AIDS with their innovative ABC method (Abstain, Be Faithful, Use Condoms). Although in recent years their success has slipped, I was inspired by the way Uganda took their HIV/AIDS epidemic seriously and made positive strides to address it. Perhaps it is these positive experiences that have made the latest news out of Uganda so hard for me to hear. The Ugandan Parliament is considering legislation that would make homosexuality illegal. Anyone caught having homosexual sex would be condemned to life in prison. If HIV positive, they would face a death penalty. Furthermore, any witness of homosexual sex that does not report it within 24 hours would face three years in prison. Some prominent conservative Christian leaders both inside Uganda and internationally are supporting the bill. I recently signed a petition calling on Pastor Rick Warren to publicly denounce the anti-homosexual legislation. I encourage you to sign it as well as it is the best action I have found so far. Personally, my spirituality was awakened in East Africa. My encounters with Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Catholics were eye opening. I saw Christians pray with deep conviction. I joined in hymns that stirred my soul. I witnessed a reverence that sustained lives. I was privileged that these faith communities fed my faith. I imagine there are many gay Ugandans that grew up with and were sustained by Christian communities. I can’t help but feel the isolation and betrayal they must face at this moment. I pray this legislation will not pass and that the intolerance and oppression that has brought the legislation thus far is called out and pushed back. In this dark hour, I stand on the side of love with Ugandans of every sexual orientation. Adam Gerhardstein protesting an HIV/AIDS press conference at which Pastor Rick Warren spoke