Activists Deliver Petition Demanding Pepsi Speak Out Against Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

Gay-rights activists have delivered a petition with more than 114,000 signees to Pepsico headquarters in Purchase, New York, in hopes the soda giant  will speak out against Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill.

The petition, directed at Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, was organized by the advocacy groups, Queerocracy and Health GAP. “More than 75% of the 114,302 members who signed this petition say they’re Pepsi drinkers,” said Sum of Us director Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman. “Pepsi is standing on the sidelines when it could be speaking out to save the lives of gay Ugandans, and its customers want it to act.”

Here’s the text of the petition:

In Uganda, it’s already illegal to be gay. But some government officials — with support from American evangelicals — want to take government-sanctioned homophobia a step further. They’ve proposed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that would, among other things, institute the death penalty for repeated same-sex activity, which the bill’s author has dubbed “aggravated homosexuality”.

This bill could pass any day now — a “Christmas gift” to Uganda, in the words of the Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament.

But our allies on the ground tell us that if Pepsi, which has a huge presence in Uganda, speaks out against the bill and the harmful effect it would have on investment and economic development in Uganda, it would force Ugandan officials to put the bill on hold — or even pull it entirely.

Add your name to our petition to Pepsi, telling it to speak out against this horrific “Kill the Gays” bill that’s racing through the Ugandan Parliament.

As citizen-consumers, we have tremendous influence over Pepsi. It has customers all over the world — meaning that, unlike the MPs in Uganda who are pushing this bill, Pepsi cares what we think and say about them. And for this piece of legislation, our position is clear — Pepsi must use its power as a major company in Uganda to communicate clearly to Ugandan legislators that this hateful bill must be stopped.

The goal of this bill isn’t secret. David Bahati, the bill’s author, has said publicly that he believes every single gay person in Uganda should be killed. Bahati has extensive, well-documented ties to a secretive group of evangelicals called The Family that includes American Senators and well-known American pastors. When he initially proposed the bill two years ago, a global outcry forced the government to drop consideration of the bill last May. But now it’s back — and all of our voices are needed to stop this bill once and for all.

Let’s band together to stop this hateful piece of legislation in its tracks. Click here to sign our petition to Pepsi telling it to speak out now.

Pepsi is a big deal in Uganda. Through its subsidiary Crown Beverages Ltd., Pepsi has grown to be one of the largest beverage companies in the country, seeing its market share grow year after year. According to the Ugandan Prime Minister, Pepsi is making a “great contribution… to the growth of our economy in Uganda and to the well-being of our people.” If Pepsi speaks out against this bill, Ugandan officials who are pushing this bill through will have to stop and listen.

This isn’t the first time Pepsi has had the chance to distance itself from homophobia in the wake of consumer concern. After Pepsi was caught sponsoring a concert in Kampala by Beenie Man, an artist who gets rich spouting homophobic lyrics, Pepsi was forced to back away from its sponsorship of the concert. Now, Pepsi is silent on one of the most horrific pieces of legislation ever considered, and it won’t speak out against the “Kill the Gays” bill unless we make it.

Can you add your name to our petition demanding Pepsi publicly reject the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill now?

Finally, rumors are flying that the the death penalty has been removed from the bill. That could happen during floor debate in Parliament, and it might be a strategy that Bahati, the bill’s author, is planning to use in order to seem more “moderate.”

But, this bill will have a horrific effect even without the death penalty—the legislation, for instance, creates massive incentives for a person to claim to be a “victim of homosexuality” in order to avoid prosecution if caught engaging in the overly broad definition of homosexual activity, which includes such benign acts as holding hands or accidentally bumping into someone. Please add your name to our petition calling for Pepsi to unequivocally oppose this legislation publicly, with or without the death penalty’s inclusion.