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National Religious Leadership Roundtable condemns anti-gay bill in Uganda

Date: 
May 11, 2011

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WASHINGTON, May 10 — The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, reiterates its condemnation of Uganda's proposed "Anti-Homosexuality Bill." It has been revived by Uganda's Parliament with a possible vote this week. The bill targets homosexuality and includes severe penalties, including life in prison and even death.

"This bill is an example of what happens when fear and hatred hold sway," said the Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, faith work director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are threatened with death, religious people who profess a God of justice and extravagant welcome are threatened with imprisonment, all people are left vulnerable to the spread of HIV, and justice and love become victims of state violence. Those of us who are people of faith must stand and say no — on behalf of all who will suffer."

"Every person has been endowed by our creator with worth and dignity that human judgment cannot set aside," said the Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, executive for Health and Wholeness Advocacy in Wider Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ. "The Anti-Homosexuality Bill before the Ugandan Parliament violates the rights of God's children in Uganda. It punishes the free association and expression that is necessary for a flourishing civil society, and creates a climate of fear and hostility which undermines the citizenship and solidarity of all Ugandans. I join the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights & Constitutional Law in calling for the complete withdrawal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in its original or amended form."

"This proposed bill is an outrage," said the Rev. Debra Haffner, executive director of the Religious Institute. "The right to live one's sexual orientation and gender identity without fear of discrimination or violence is a basic human right. All humans have dignity and worth, period, and sexual diversity is part of God's blessing. It is absolutely immoral to violate those basic human rights because of a person's sexual orientation. We implore them to reconsider."

"The Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill attacks the human dignity and legal rights of all Ugandans," said Imam Daayiee Abdullah of the Light of Reformation Mosque. "This bill, if implemented, will not only destroy the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, but it will also silence straight Ugandans who stand for human rights for all people. This bill in application will not differentiate between Christian, Muslim or any other traditional faith within Uganda. Furthermore, the bill allows the imprisonment of anyone who may know or have knowledge of any lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer persons — the circle of entrapment grows larger by the fears of revenge and accusations through lies. Ugandan governmental leaders, guilty of accepting funding by Western religious organizations promoting homo-hatred, are fully aware they are setting aflame a tinderbox that will embroil their country in economic sanctions that harms all Ugandans."

The National Religious Leadership Roundtable urges all people to offer their public protest to this bill and to take action by signing this AllOut petition.

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The National Religious Leadership Roundtable (NRLR), convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is an interfaith network of leaders from pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) faith, spiritual and religious organizations. We work in partnership with other groups to promote understanding of and respect for LGBT people within society at large and in communities of faith. We promote understanding and respect within LGBT communities for a variety of faith paths and for religious liberty, and to achieve commonly held goals that promote equality, spirituality and justice.

The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.