If you replace “Uganda” with “United States,” it’s almost as if Ugandan lawmaker David Bahati is a stand-in for Mark Sanford or Virgina Foxx. Bahati is behind Ethics Minister James Nsaba Buturo, the man pushing Uganda’s “death to gays” bill, which would make homosexuality a crime punishable by execution in some instances (for repeated offenses, for having sex while HIV-positive, and having sex with someone under 18 or disabled). And now Bahati is joining Buturo’s talking points, setting himself on a mission to deflect criticism of the bill, and ensure everyone knows that Uganda is not like other countries. Namely, those that believe in civil rights.
“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is a nice piece of legislation,” he writes in Uganda’s Observer newspaper. “It is a consolidation of values of Ugandans and the country at large. It aims at holding the integrity of Ugandans high in the sky. And we shall not compromise on this cause. Uganda is not a copycat of other countries. We can’t do what other countries are doing—especially when such countries are doing the wrong things. The fact that the moral fabric in America and Europe has been put under siege by the supporters of this creeping evil of homosexuality should not suggest that we should follow suit. And I think supporting the cause of this Bill will provide Uganda as a country an opportunity to provide leadership in this area of safeguarding the traditional family. … We are happy that we are involved in this issue of attacking homosexuality head on. And generally people have started to see this cause as something that is highly needed. It is not an easy task. Combating homosexuality is not easy. There is massive recruitment in schools—mostly single-sex schools.”
And here’s the kicker — the one every bigot includes as a footnote: “I must also point out that this Bill is not about hate or discrimination. We are not involved in a hate campaign. … But ever since we tabled this Bill, we have come under attack. People have argued that we are promoting a hate campaign against homosexuals. And these attacks are coming mostly from civil society members who claim that homosexuality is a human right. These same groups have persistently continued to place this evil in the category of human rights. They have rallied people to resist the Bill. They argue that we are targeting homosexuals, we hate them. But some of the people behind these messages are mothers and respectable people in our country.”
It must be resonating with some; the Facebook group “We are Ugandans and we do not support Gay” has more than 1,200 “fans,” and include comments like this: