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New York Review of Books: Uganda's Anti-Gay Law: The Missing Science

Author: Helen Epstein
February 28, 2014


"Museveni claims that he decided to sign the bill into law because he concluded there is no scientific evidence that homosexuality is determined by a person's genes, and is therefore 'deviant' behavior."

After Uganda's Parliament passed a harsh anti-homosexuality bill in December, increasing numbers of gays in the capital Kampala said they were being evicted from their houses and taunted and threatened by their neighbors. Western leaders, who give Uganda some $1 billion in foreign aid annually, warned President Yoweri Museveni that if he approved the legislation–which punishes "aggravated homosexuality" with a life sentence—it would greatly complicate diplomatic relations. But this week, Museveni signed the bill anyway.

Museveni's considerations were clearly political. Now in his twenty-eighth year in office, his popular support is plummeting and conservative Christians are among his few remaining allies. His government is wracked with corruption and he himself has recently been accused of stealing $5 million per month from the national workers' pension fund; his henchmen have harassed and possibly murdered rival politicians; his troops are involved in bloody conflicts in several neighboring countries, including South Sudan, which could explode into a regional conflict, and there is widespread discontent even within his own political party.

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