Uganda Anti-Gay Bill Dropped Following Global Outrage
Following vocal condemnation from US political leaders, human rights groups, and activists, the Uganda Parliament decided to drop an anti-gay bill, which would impose life sentences or the death penalty for gay people. The bill went before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee on Friday and was originally scheduled for a vote today before it was dropped from the Parliament's agenda.
David Bahati, a member of the Ugandan Parliament and one of the principle leaders of the Family or Fellowship of C Street fame (see Jeff Sharlet's latest book on C Street), first introduced the bill in 2009. Bahati stated that a new version of the bill exists, which does not call for the death penalty, although that version has not been publically released.
Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International's deputy director for Africa, stated, "It is deeply alarming that the Ugandan parliament is again considering this appalling bill, which flies in the face of human decency and violates international human rights law."
Graeme Reid, LGBT rights director at Human Rights Watch, clarified, "The Anti-Homosexuality Bill and the government's violent crackdown on peaceful protests seen in recent weeks are evidence of a diminishing space for human rights in Uganda. We strongly urge the Ugandan parliament to reject the bill immediately."
Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries with the exception of South Africa, which recognizes gay marriage, but even there, anti-gay practices such as "corrective rapes" on lesbians, are commonplace.
Also in Uganda yesterday, hundreds of anti-government protestors, participating in "Walk to Work" demonstrations against the high prices of commodities and fuel, were sprayed by police and military officials with a pink liquid. Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 25 years, announced his plans to change the law to deny bail to arrested protestors.
Media Resources: Statement Human Rights Watch 5/10/11; BBC 5/11/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 10/29/11
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .
4/14/2014 Kathleen Sebelius Resigns as Secretary of Health & Human Services - President Barack Obama last week announced the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius.
Noting that she will "go down in history" for "serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America," President Obama praised Secretary Sebelius for guiding the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA).
At least 7.5 million Americans have now signed up for health coverage through health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. . . .