Written by Staff Writer
23 Feb, 2014 | 5:15 pm
Uganda’s President has said he’s seeking advice from American scientists before he decides whether to sign a bill that criminalizes homosexuality.
Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda. The proposed legislation passed by parliament toughens the penalties, including life imprisonment for certain acts.
President Yoweri Museveni ‘s decision backtracks from his announcement last week, when he said he’d sign the bill for “scientific” reasons.
At the time, he said that Ugandan scientists had determined there was no gene for homosexuality.
“It was learned and could be unlearned,” he said.
Shortly after his announcement, U.S. President Barack Obama warned that enacting the bill would affect relations between the two nations. He described the proposal as an “affront and a danger to the gay community” in Uganda.
The United States and Britain are among the nation’s largest donors.
In what appears to be a move to placate Western donors, Museveni now says he is seeking extended guidance.
In a statement this week, he said U.S. scientists sent him opinions indicating “homosexuality could be congenital.”
“I therefore encourage the U.S. government to help us by working with our scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual,” Museveni said. “When that is proved, we can review this legislation.”
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