The Council was pleased to see Rachel Maddow expose the stereotypes and prejudice that animate David Bahati, the parliamentarian who authored the “anti-homosexuality” bill in Uganda, on her show this evening. Mr. Bahati claims his bill will protect children and families of Uganda. To the contrary, it criminalizes LGBT individuals and families, and in the words of President Obama, it is simply “odious.”
Mr. Bahati this evening suggested that the parliament could pass the bill without a death penalty provision, but life in prison is hardly a compromise. LGBT relations and relationships must never be criminalized, nor should the work of human rights advocates who defend LGBT rights or public health officials who reach out to vulnerable individuals who are most at risk of HIV infection. In the words of Secretary Clinton, “gay rights are human rights,” in the United States, Africa and everywhere else.
We are pleased that the State Department showed good judgment in granting Mr. Bahati a very limited, single-entry visa. It was issued for the sole purpose of Bahati’s request to attend a public financial management conference in Washington this week. We note that Mr. Bahati abused that privilege and has instead used his visit to the United States to promote his assault on Uganda’s LGBT community through appearances on the Rachel Maddow show and in other U.S. media outlets. We hope the U.S. embassy will take note of his true agenda in the United States, which appears incompatible with his visa request, and that officials will weigh his record of deceit against any future request by him for another U.S. visa.