Uganda President: We Were Not Forced to Drop Anti-Gay Law
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Saturday that the East African country was not forced to nix its highly controversial anti-gay law last week because of an upcoming Africa-U.S. summit, the AFP reports.
The bill, which called for LGBT people to be jailed for life, sparked international attention with a number of international leaders halting aid to Uganda in protest. Secretary of State John Kerry even compared the measure to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany.
The law was overturned by Uganda's constitutional court Friday and Museveni is scheduled for a summit in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to meet with African leaders and President Barack Obama. According to the AFP, Museveni said the court's ruling had "nothing to do with" his upcoming trip to the States, nor the sanctions and travel bans the U.S. implemented on Uganda over the anti-gay measure.
"I was going to Washington with the bill when it was stopped. It has nothing to do with us going to Washington," he said. He added that the freezing of aid did not impact the African country.
"What has happened to Uganda now? Have you seen any catastrophe? Isn't the economy growing?" Museveni asked.
Even though the harsh anti-gay measure was struck down, Uganda still bans homosexuality and LGBT people can be sentenced to jail under previsions.
Christian evangelical pastor Martin Ssempa, who campaigned to "kick sodomy out of Uganda," called the court's ruling a "judicial abortion" and plans to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
The Constitutional Court said the law was "null and void" because it was passed without the necessary minimum number of lawmakers.