Kate McHale Staff Writer@KateMcHale42 Uganda recently surged into the headlines for deplorable reasons. They passed an anti-gay law that makes homosexuality and same-sex marriage punishable by law and could garner a life sentence in jail. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commanded the repeal of this law. A Ugandan tabloid recently published its "200 top" homosexuals. This ended up outing some people who had not yet spoken about their sexuality, especially only one day after the president had imposed such a heinous law. Many prominent figures for the United Nations are speaking against this new law. This includes the U.N. chief who felt, “the law could fuel prejudice and encourage harassment against gays, according to U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky. U.S. Secretary John Kerry was also vocal about his disappointment towards the law, calling it "a tragic day for Uganda and for all who care about the cause of human rights", he was also very vocal about the fact that Washington might cut all assistance to the African nation. Kerry also had this to say, “Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values", throwing his and the government's support behind those who are being affected by the new law. Leave it to a tabloid to use this time to expose gay Ugandans for its advantage. The Red Pepper published the article, titled “Exposed.” Featured in the article were prominent people in their respected communities such as Ugandan gay activist Pepe Julian Onziema, a popular Ugandan hip-hop star, and a Catholic priest. Not long after this article was published, a prominent Ugandan gay activist was murdered. This new law disciplines gay sex with up to life in jail, which is much better than the proposed death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality", defined as “repeated gay sex between consenting adults and acts involving a minor, a disabled person or where one partner is infected with HIV". First time offenders are sentenced to 14 years in jail versus the lifetime sentence. Since this law was being talked about and instituted, there have been six arrests and over a dozen more have fled Uganda to avoid the persecutions. The Ugandan law comes on the heels of the new Nigerian law against gay rights. The law was, not surprisingly, very popular with the Ugandan government. U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights Navi Pillay cautioned “the law would institutionalize discrimination and could encourage harassment and violence against gays.” The world does not need any more hate and discrimination. Here’s to hoping that Uganda comes to its senses and repeals this atrocious law.
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