Texas Senator Ted Cruz has surprised many people by posting a strongly-worded condemnation of new anti-LGBTQ legislation that became law in Uganda this week.
The African nation passed what many view as one of the most draconian anti-gay laws in the world. Same-sex sexual activity was already illegal in the country.
However, the Anti-Homosexuality Act signed into law yesterday by President Yoweri Museveni goes further. Anyone found guilty of being gay faces life imprisonment. It also introduces the death penalty for so-called “aggravated” cases. This includes gay sex with someone under 18, or transmitting HIV via gay sex.
It introduces a 20-year jail sentence for those found guilty of the “promotion of homosexuality”. It also criminalizes the provision of support – whether in kind or financially – to facilitate any activities that encourage homosexuality.
The legislation has been condemned by international human rights groups. President Biden issued a strong statement calling it “shameful” and calling for its immediate repeal. He has threatened to cut funding to Uganda and is mulling “Additional steps, including the application of sanctions and restriction of entry into the United States against anyone involved in serious human rights abuses or corruption.”
“Horrific & wrong”
Many in the Republican Party have not commented on the law. However, Cruz yesterday took to Twitter to condemn it.
“This Uganda law is horrific & wrong,” Cruz said. “Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ is grotesque & an abomination. ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse. #LGBTQ”
Cruz’s comments prompted thousands of comments and retweets. The reaction can largely be split down four lines.
First, there were many who said they were forced to agree with Cruz for the first time in their life.
You know what? We rarely agree but I appreciate you saying this.— Guillermo Mena🏳️🌈🇵🇷🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@GuilloMena) May 29, 2023
You’re right, but this is so out of left field for you— 🎒Dan 🎒 (@BoyInHD) May 30, 2023
Did I read this correctly? Am I having a fever dream? Is he actually advocating for LGBTQ rights?— MI Rights Count Project (@CountRights) May 29, 2023
Then there were the tweets that reminded Cruz of his own voting record on LGBTQ+ issues.
This you?— Rafael Shimunov (@rafaelshimunov) May 29, 2023
This type of work from you feeds homophobia across the world. One of the key leaders of the Uganda kill the gay law is a Republican pastor from the US who loves your work at home.https://t.co/BY66uKXV17 pic.twitter.com/bFZEXumDXW
So crush bud light and target— GOPisComplicit now with parody/satire in title 🙄 (@GOPisComplicit) May 29, 2023
But condemn Uganda. Why. Do they have a no extradition treaty? Ted?
Great, now call out @GovRonDeSantis for his law where teachers can't even say gay in the schools.— Michael VanDeMar (@mvandemar) May 29, 2023
Advancing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and legislation in the US signals to other countries that they can do the same.— Jack Turban MD (@jack_turban) May 29, 2023
Why would Uganda expect repercussions for these human rights abuses, when your GOP party has been advancing its own?
Cruz says Bud Light enlisted Mulvaney to market its product towards underage kids.
There were plenty of right-wingers who used the tweet as evidence that Cruz must be a RINO or said he was meddling in another country’s affairs.
They have the right to do whatever they want. Keep your nose in America's business, we have our own problems— McKaylaRose (@McKaylaRoseRed) May 29, 2023
Finally, there were then the conspiracy theories and speculation as to why Cruz had chosen to slam the Ugandan law. These touched upon Ugandan gold, the sexuality of Cruz’s family members, to Ted’s political ambitions. He’s reportedly facing a tough re-election battle in 2024 in a Texan seat that has inched toward flipping blue in recent years.
Either way, it would be welcome to see a more people from across the political spectrum from speaking out on what is a horrific law.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was overwhelmingly passed by the Ugandan Parliament on 21 March. On 21 April, President Museveni refused to sign the bill into law, sending it back to MPs to reword a few clauses. On 2 May, MPs voted for the amended bill and again sent it to the president, who duly signed it.
Cruz is trying his best to distance himself from that violently homophobic rumor he helped peddle last year.