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President Museveni Signs Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill Into Law

After balking the first time, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed the country’s now-notorious anti-gay bill into law today.

Museveni signed the bill, which will punish first-time offenders with 14 years in jail, at 11 a.m. local time, according to the Associated Press.

The law makes any kind of homosexual relationship illegal, punishable by jail for life for repeat offenders or “aggravated homosexuality.” It will also sentence people who fail to report homosexuality to prison.

Originally the bill proposed the death penalty for homosexuality, but the provision was lightened.

Museveni stopped short of signing it in January due to reports from his medical staff that homosexuality was a genetic flaw and that gay people are “abnormal” and “sick.”

Last week Museveni said he would ask American scientists for their views on the science of homosexuality after Ugandan scientists determined there was no specific gene that determined a person’s sexuality.

He said last week that American scientists told him that "homosexuality could be congenital."

"I therefore encourage the U.S. government to help us by working with our scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual," Museveni said in a statement. "When that is proved, we can review this legislation."

The bill is popular among Uganda’s population, despite the outcry by civil and human rights’ groups. 

President Barack Obama and U.S. Ambassador condemned the bill just a week ago. Obama warned the Ugandan head of state that passing the bill would “complicate” the countries’ relationship. The U.S. and Britain are top providers of foreign aid to the African nation.

But Museveni asserted himself today, signing the bill to enthusiastic applause at a ceremony at his State House.

"There's now an attempt at social imperialism, to impose social values. We're sorry to see that you [the West] live the way you live but we keep quiet about it," he said, as reported by Reuters.

Sources: Associated Press, CNNReuters


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