February 4th, 2010
10:03 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama criticizes Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/04/art.obama1.gi.jpg caption="President Barack Obama strongly criticized controversial anti-homosexuality legislation being considered by Uganda's legislature during an appearance Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast."]Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama strongly criticized controversial anti-homosexuality legislation being considered by Uganda's legislature during an appearance Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast.

The organization which sponsors the breakfast, the Fellowship Foundation, has been associated with efforts to pass the bill, according to the ethics group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

The measure would punish sexual activity between persons of the same sex with long jail terms or death.

It is "unconscionable to target gays or lesbians for who they are," Obama said.

The measure being considered in Uganda is "odious," he added.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also criticized the bill during an appearance at the breakfast.

CREW had protested Obama's appearance at the breakfast, claiming in a statement that the event "designed to appear as if government-sanctioned, actually serves as a meeting and recruiting event for the shadowy Fellowship Foundation," also known as "The Foundation" and "The Family."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Steph

    Way to go Mr. President!!!!!

    February 4, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. ThinkAgain

    What is it about, "We are all children of God" that the Fellowship Foundation (and everyone else, for that matter) doesn't get?

    You know, I look at the universe and all I can think is whatever/whomever created this certainly has a lot more love, integrity and character than the pea-brains running around our planet using their supposed "faith" as an excuse for all their bad behavior, including hating people.

    February 4, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Wisconsonite

    I am SO glad to hear the President & Secretary Clinton speaking out publicly against this abomination! And that there are members in our OWN government who are behind-the-scenes-supporting a foreign country in their efforts to take human rights away from a segment of Uganda's population is "odious"! Thank you for calling them out, Mr. President!

    February 4, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. james Miller

    Quit meddeling in their affairs

    February 4, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. browbeater

    But he is mostly silent as the people of Iran get their skulls bashed in.

    February 4, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. jeff jackson, alabama

    With all the problems we have here in
    America with the economy and the war
    on terror and with the problem we have
    controlling our own corrupt government,
    WHY...do we insist on telling other
    nations how to run their government
    and what laws they can and can't pass???
    Let's mind our OWN business, protect our
    Own borders, and control our OWN
    politicians and fight our OWN wars against
    our OWN enemies !!!

    February 4, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  7. Tracy

    I may not agree with Mr. Obama for the most part, but I have to say he's pretty much right on here.

    February 4, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. William

    He got hammered by the gay community for not keeping his promise so he pulled back the dont ask dont tell policy of the military and now hes mentioning Uganda. Uganda has been killing gays in the streets for years. Iran, who i watched hang gays from a crane, hardly was mentioned. This selective human rights is less about concern and more about throwing a bone to the gay lobbies to get them off his back. I cant blame him. He is a politician and they do play politics well. I just wish he wasnt so obvious about it lately.

    February 4, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. John, NC

    That says a lot about Obama.

    February 4, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. Steve in Alabama

    It is "unconscionable to target gays or lesbians for who they are," Obama said.

    Does this mean that Obama finds the Bible to be unconscionable?

    He has freedom of speech and conscience to think that way, but I wish he'd just come on out and say it if that's what he thinks. Come on Obama, say it, "The Bible has unconscionable teachings." Show your true colors you politician.

    February 4, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. William

    Well that he should, Uganda is now even more of a disgrace despite the machinations of the white corporate agenda and it's puppets.

    February 4, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. simon

    Obama should mind his business and let independent sovereign democratic nations handle their states.

    February 4, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Edwin

    My understanding is that the bill punishes people for more than just having gay sex. It considers as a criminal anyone who knows someone may be gay but does not turn them in. I think it also seeks to convict anyone who publishes material (such as a news article) portraying homosexuality as other than a bad thing.

    So if I were Ugandan, this posting would make me a criminal (even though I am straight).

    February 4, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. Jim, Williamsburg, VA

    Who is the US to pass judgment on other contries' laws. Do we tolerate such criricism of our laws? Does Barry O's arrogance need to be exported to the world. Why not export him (and his illegal alien aunt).

    February 4, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. Joel Burlingham

    Those interested in why such appalling political arrangements between U.S. Congressmen and despotic regimes might exist should read Jeff Sharlet's book. In "The Family ... The Secret Fundamentalism at The Heart of American Power", Sharlet exposes the long-term historical union of Christian fundamentalism with political power and especially in relationship to "free enterprise." This union or pairing of Jesus and absolute freedom with regard to economic enterprising has produced some of the most outrageous events and programs all sanctioned in the name of Christianity. A case of really BAD theological thinking resulting in sometimes atrocious events. If you want clarity on what's happening, and if you have the courage to look at U.S. political activity in a new way, read Jeff Sharlet. Extremely well researched and documented.

    Joel Burlingham

    February 4, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. Jeff of Peoria

    I'm a conservayive and I even hate this bill. Leave these people alone. This is just another way for government to get control over people.

    Thank goodnes it's in another country but maybe this could serve as a lesson to Obama. Look what too much government can do. I'm sure Uganda has better things to do.

    As far as objecting to Obama's appearance, how did he get notified to put this on his schedule? It's not like he crashed this meeting.

    February 4, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. felicia

    Here's what i see, at this time i have stop watching cnn because they have become worse than fox. They are to critical of President Obama and not supporting his agenda too much. Cnn has become a big disappointment.

    February 4, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. WhoCares?

    The Religious right – We support the killing and beating of innocents....they are gay you know!!

    February 4, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Rickster

    Somebody please pass the word to Barry that, despite what he thinks, he's not the king of the world. He's just the President of the United States and a really pathetic one at that.

    February 4, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Seattle Sue

    Let Senators Coburn and Ensign defend the Family's stand on this homosexual matter.

    February 4, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This will cover Obama from being seen as supporting the anti-homosexual laws in in Uganda. There is no reason that we should be supporting these laws or countries that have these laws if we can help it. There are some times where we have to work with people that we don't agree with because there is an issue that we need their help on.

    February 4, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. Robert

    Well at least he put his time there to good use... If Uganda passes this draconian legislation, all western nations should cut relations and all aid...

    For the record, the leaders of the 'Family' have condemned the legislation, even if their rhetoric and homophobia were initially responsible for the idea behind it.

    Because of their irresponsible rhetoric, I hope future presidents won't attend this event unless more fair minded and moderate groups are behind it.

    February 4, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Raymond H. Burgoon-Clark

    Humanity, civility, compassion, empathy, respect for science ... NONE of those things are in the vocabularies of the murderous anti-GLBT Ugandan fascists, egged on by the Republicanische Bund's religious/adultery cover-up wing, The Family.

    February 4, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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