John Kerry To Send Homosexuality ‘Experts’ To Tackle Uganda Anti-Gay Law
By Shadee Ashtari | The Huffington Post
Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Tuesday U.S. plans to send homosexuality “experts” to Uganda to discuss the country’s new Anti-Homosexuality Act with President Yoweri Museveni, according to Buzzfeed.
“I talked personally to President Museveni just a few weeks ago, and he committed to meet with some of our experts so that we could engage him in a dialogue as to why what he did could not be based on any kind of science or fact, which is what he was alleging,” Kerry said during a University Town Hall meeting at the U.S. Department of State. “He welcomed that and said that he was happy to receive them and we can engage in that kind of conversation… maybe we can reach a point of reconsideration.”
The Ugandan president signed the law, which includes up to lifetime imprisonment for homosexuality, in February after a team of Ugandan scientists informed him that there was no genetic basis for homosexuality.
Kerry described his exchange with Museveni as an example of the “tailored approach” to the State Department’s developing strategy on international anti-LGBT legislation.
Kerry said the State Department was formulating guidelines on dealing with countries with discriminatory laws, particularly with respect to U.S. aid to East African nations.
“There’s been already a review taking place to figure out what the options are as to how we can begin to change minds, move leaders, reach the public, the same kind of education that took place frankly here in our country,” Kerry said during the discussion, which was moderated by BuzzFeed’s Miriam Elder.
The U.S. has provided more than $485 million in bilateral assistance to Uganda for the 2014 fiscal year, with most of the funding allotted for health and security programs.
Kerry added that U.S. diplomats have also been tasked with actively advocating against discrimination.
“It’s going to have to be strategic country by country,” Kerry said. “I don’t think you’re going to find different countries will have different needs, different sensitivities. So we’re going to try to put together the overall umbrella program tailorable, obviously, region by region and country by country.”
A vocal opponent of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, Kerry also compared the anti-gay measure to anti-Semitism laws and apartheid policies while speaking to reporters in February.
“You could change the focus of this legislation to black or Jewish and you could be in 1930s Germany or you could be in 1950s-1960s apartheid South Africa,” Kerry said last month. “It was wrong there egregiously in both places and it is wrong here.”