Uganda defends anti-gay laws

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iol pic afr Obama-Uganda-Gays AP In a file photo, Kenyan gays and lesbians and others supporting their cause wear masks to preserve their anonymity and one holds out a wrapped condom, as they stage a rare protest, against Uganda's increasingly tough stance against homosexuality outside the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi. Picture: Ben Curtis

Kampala - Uganda's government on Tuesday defended its decision to push through tough anti-homosexuality laws, saying it is determined to protect the country's “morals” even if that meant losing international aid.

The comments came after President Yoweri Museveni announced that he would sign into law a controversial bill that will see homosexuals jailed for life, despite warnings from key allies including the United States.

Officials also announced that Museveni had signed into law anti-pornography and dress code legislation which outlaws “provocative” clothing, bans scantily-clad performers from Ugandan television and closely monitors what individuals watch on the Internet.

“We shall not care losing the financial support from our partners if only we are left alone,” Uganda's Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo told reporters, saying Ugandans would rather “die poor than live in an immoral nation.”

“For donors to say they will not give us aid because of the anti-homosexuality bill and the anti-porno law, that is blackmail and unacceptable, they can rather stay with their aid,” the minister said.

“If tomorrow, the president signs the anti-homosexuality bill and the outside world say they are not coming to Uganda, let them remain there, we don't care.”

The Ugandan anti-gay bill cruised through parliament in December after its architects agreed to drop an extremely controversial death penalty clause, although the bill still stipulates that repeat homosexuals should be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays. - AFP



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