Senate resolution condemns African law persecuting gays

Senate resolution condemns African law persecuting gays

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A Pennsylvania senator recently introduced a resolution that would condemn anti-LGBT legislation passed in two African countries.

On Feb. 4, Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Eighth Dist.) introduced SR 285, a resolution that denounces recent bills passed in Uganda and Nigeria that criminalize LGBT organizations and same-sex relationships. The resolution urges leaders in those two countries to repeal the laws.

It was referred to the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee. Williams’ legislative aide, Kyle Miller, said a committee hearing won’t be held until at least March on the resolution.

The Uganda Parliament passed the measure Dec. 20, and President Yoweri Museveni has until Feb. 23 to veto or sign the bill, which he had send back to Parliament for revisions. The bill was originally referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill for its death-penalty provision, but that measure was removed and replaced by life in prison as the highest punishment.

Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan signed the “Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act” into law Jan. 7, which mandates imprisonment for up to 14 years for those who entered into a same-sex union.

The resolution says both laws have created a hostile and dangerous environment in their respective countries.

“Police in the northern Nigerian state of Bauchi arrested and allegedly tortured dozens of men suspected of being gay,” the resolution states. “Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan publicly committed to alleviating the epidemic of HIV/AIDS, affecting 34 million Nigerians, while simultaneously signing into law the discriminatory and counterproductive legislation.”

The resolution also states the Nigerian legislation would be detrimental to the 17 percent of the nation’s LGBT population affected by HIV/AIDS, who, under the law, may not be able to access HIV/AIDS programs and organizations.

It also cites U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s criticism of Goodluck’s bill as “dangerously restricting freedom of assembly, association and expression for all Nigerians.”

The resolution would “urge the full membership of the Parliament of Uganda to vote down the vile and discriminatory legislation, Ugandan President Yuweri Museveni to veto the bill should it be passed by the Parliament of Uganda once more and President Goodluck Jonathan to repeal Nigeria’s equally noxious prohibition on same-sex organizations and relationships.”

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