Thursday, December 10, 2009

Human Rights Day 2009: Uganda's Anti-Gay Proposal

December 10th is Human Rights Day.

There are many things I could write about today. Sexual rights are human rights, and in too many places in the world (and in the United States) they are denied. The right to bodily integrity, the right to live one's sexual orientation and gender identity without fear of discrimination or violence, the right to marry, the right to reproductive health care, the right for adults to make consensual sexual decisions without governmental interference, the right to information...the list is long.

But, the most horrific example for today is the anti-gay bill that is proposed in Uganda. Read it here. It criminalizes same sex sexual behavior, which is punishable by seven years in jail for a first time, unless the person has HIV and then it is punishable by life imprisonment or death. Allies who who "aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality commits an offense and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years. Same sex couples who marry are to be imprisoned for life. A Ugandan citizen living an another country who commits "such offenses" can be extradited for trial.

This proposed law is an unspeakable outrage against humanity, and religious leaders are speaking out. According to GLAAD,

I joined a letter this week of Christian conservative and progressive leaders who sent a letter to Uganda decrying the law's inhumanity. It was signed by a wide ranging coalition of faith leaders, from Catholics to ultraconservative evangelicals to denomination leaders to progressives who regularly speak out for LGBT rights. You can read it and the list of endorsers here.

What can YOU do?

Become educated about what's being proposed. Tell your friends and colleagues. Here are some suggestions from GLAAD's faith program:

  • If you oversee many congregations, email a pastoral letter for human rights day
  • Issue a press release and hold a press conference on Human Rights day
  • Preach a sermon about all of us being created in God’s image;
  • Contact faith leaders in your tradition and other traditions and urge them to write letters and take a public stand.

Join the letter writing campaign to the Ugandan Minister of Ethics and Integrity. Tell him that your faith teaches you that all humans have dignity and worth and that sexual diversity is part of God's blessing. Tell him that it is immoral to violate human rights because of a person's sexual orientation. Tell him that the world is watching.

Here's the address:

Hon. Dr. James Nsaba Buturo

Minister of Ethics and Integrity

Office of the President, Parliamentary Building

P. O. Box 7168

Kampala, Uganda

Let Your Voice Be Heard.

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