by Dan Savage
on Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 9:44 AM
Sweden has warned Uganda that it risks losing its aid—$50 million per year—if it passes a proposed law that would require third parties to report known homosexuals (mothers, fathers, siblings, neighbors), make gay sex illegal and punishable by death, put HIV-positive people to death, and outlaw advocacy for gay rights.
Speaking to Swedish Radio news, development minister Gunilla Carlsson says that she thinks the new law is appalling. "I'm doubly disappointed," she says, "partly because Uganda is a country with which we have had long-term relations and where I thought and hoped we had started to share common values and understanding. The law itself is wretched, but it's also offensive to see how the Ugandans choose to look at how we see things, and the kind of reception we get when we bring up these issues" Uganda receives around 50 million US dollars in development assistance from Sweden annually, minister Gunilla Carlsson says that this money might be in danger if the new law is introduced.
How much aid does Uganda get from the US government? Will the Obama administration take a similar stand? The conservative Canadian prime minister—Stephen Harper, a.k.a. "Canada's George Bush"—has taken a stand:
An anti-gay bill in Uganda that proposes the death penalty and long prison sentences for homosexual acts is deplorable, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Sunday. Harper told reporters he met privately with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni during the Commonwealth leaders' summit to express "Canada's deep concern and strong opposition to the bill."
"We deplore these kinds of measures," said Harper. "We find them inconsistent with any reasonable understanding of human rights."
No word yet from the fierce advocate of gay equality in the White House.