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BREAKING NEWS: Equality California calls on U.S. government to stop Uganda’s bill criminalizing LGBT people

Editor's note: Various publications are reporting that the "Kill the Gays" bill is on the Ugandan Parliament's agenda for Wednesday and various human rights activists in Uganda are pleading for international pressure to stop its passage. Many observers believe that the pass will be passed by Parliament, leaving it up to Uganda's president to veto or sign it into law.

SACRAMENTO -- The Ugandan Parliament held a committee hearing Monday on the future of a bill that would criminalize LGBT people.

The bill, proposed by anti-LGBT lawmaker David Bahati, gained national attention last year when it was revealed that American missionaries supported this legislation to criminalize LGBT people. The Rev. Christopher Senyonjo, a retired Anglican Bishop of West Uganda and one of Uganda’s leading voices fighting for LGBT rights in Africa, said he is convinced that the bill will move forward to Parliament.

“The members of Equality California are united in calling on the State Department of the United States to make clear that the U.S. condemns any attempt by the Ugandan Parliament to enact this bill into law,” said Jim Carroll, interim executive director of Equality California.

“All Ugandans should be free from discrimination, persecution and violence, including LGBT Ugandans, and no one should fear for his or her safety because of who they are. By killing this heinous legislation once and for all, Uganda will help advance human rights for all,” he said.

Last year, the California Senate passed a resolution (SR 51) condemning Uganda’s bill criminalizing LGBT people.

The resolution, introduced by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California, asked the U.S. government to intensify its efforts to eliminate the criminalization of homosexuality worldwide as well as to take more caution when funding faith-based organizations to ensure that U.S. government funds and resources are accessible to women, minorities and the LGBT community.

The resolution also encourages faith-based organizations in the U.S. to support the creation of policies in other countries that do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The legislation also commended Bishop Christopher Senyonjo for his work and ministry to create an inclusive church and society in Uganda free from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The bishop toured California, the United States and Europe to educate and bring attention to the hostility of the recent wave of religious-based homophobia in Uganda.

How to help

Support for the bishop’s work can be given through the San Diego-based St. Paul’s Foundation HERE. The Rev. Canon Ogle is president of the foundation.

To sign All Out’s petition, “Ugandan President Museveni must vow to veto the ‘Kill the Gays’ bill,” click HERE.

To sign AVAAZ's petition, "24 hours to stop Uganda's anti-gay bill," click HERE.