Uganda Says Its Anti-Gay Bill Is Just Misunderstood

The Ugandan government is starting to worry about donors who have stopped or redirected aid to the country in light of the anti-gay bill passed in February. The government said today that the law has been "misinterpreted."

Ugandan leaders said in a statement, "[The law's] enactment has been misinterpreted as a piece of legislation intended to punish and discriminate against people of a 'homosexual orientation', especially by our development partners." Since the law was enacted, the United States has cancelled some aid programs and military exercises with Uganda. The World Bank, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands have also stopped or redirected aid to the country.

The Ugandan government claims the law is not intended to punish anyone for being homosexual, but the law is specifically written to do just that. Gay people can be punished with life in prison if they're convicted of "aggravated homosexuality," which includes having sex while HIV positive. There's nothing to misunderstand — gay Ugandans can be charged and punished with life in prison if their sexual orientation is revealed. The law also makes not reporting someone as gay a criminal offense.

[Image via AP]