Saturday, December 12, 2009

From JMG: Author Of Uganda's "Kill Gays" Bill Says Death Penalty Will Remain

According to a report in tomorrow's issue of the UK's Guardian, Ugandan member of parliament David Behati has presented his "kill gays" bill and vows that it will not be watered down. In addition to the death penalty or a life sentence for some cases, the bill provides for the imprisonment of people who don't turn in someone they know to be gay.
The Ugandan bill extends existing laws to make it illegal to promote homosexuality by talking or writing about it, and forcing people to tell the authorities about anyone they know who is gay. The bill, said Bahati, 35, an MP from the ruling party, aims to "protect the cherished culture of the people of Uganda against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sex promiscuity on the people of Uganda". He denied reports that international pressure might result in parts of the bill being toned down. "We are not going to yield to any international pressure – we cannot allow people to play with the future of our children and put aid into the game. We are not in the trade of values. We need mutual respect."
The Guardian goes on to point out that despite Bahati's claim that Uganda is immune to outside pressure, it was in fact outsiders from America's evangelical world that spawned the bill in the first place.
In March, Bahati met several prominent anti-gay US Christian activists who attended a conference in Uganda where they pledged to "wipe out" homosexuality. The conference featured Scott Lively, president of California's anti-gay Abiding Truth Ministries and co-author of The Pink Swastika, a book claiming that leading Nazis were gay. Also there was Don Schmierer, on the board of Exodus International, which promotes the "ex-gay" movement, believing people can change their sexuality and be redeemed. The third extremist evangelical to attend was Caleb Lee Brundidge, who is linked to Richard Cohen who believes that psychotherapy can "cure" homosexuality. Bahati's bill was drawn up within weeks of the conference.
Another American evangelical deeply involved in Uganda is Rick Warren, who yesterday released a videotaped message denouncing the submitted bill, something he only did after weeks of criticism over his silence. Bahati is disappointed with Warren, saying, "It's unfortunate that a man of God who has inspired many people across the world can give in to pressure and disappoint them."

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lifted from JMG

From a great site: Captain Picard Proposes

White House Condemns Uganda Bill

In response to a request from the Advocate, the White House has issued a statement (finally) condemning Uganda's proposed "kill gays" bill. Via Kerry Eleveld:
"The President strongly opposes efforts, such as the draft law pending in Uganda, that would criminalize homosexuality and move against the tide of history," read the statement that came late Friday in response to an inquiry from The Advocate. The bill in question would extend the punishment for engaging in gay sex to life imprisonment and introduce the death penalty for those who do so repeatedly or while HIV-positive — acts termed "aggravated homosexuality” within the bill.
Earlier this week a Uganda MP proposed striking the death penalty and life imprisonment portions from the bill.

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thanks to JMG

Rachel Maddow after forcing Rick Warren out of silence on Uganda

From JMG: Gene Discovery May Aid Transgender And Intersex Therapies

Scientists have discovered a genetic "on-off" switch that tells the body what gender it is.
An international team found that the action of a single gene is all that stops females from developing male physical traits, including testes and facial hair. When this gene was artificially “switched off” in adult female mice their ovaries began to turn into testes and they started to produce a level of testosterone found in healthy male mice. The discovery could eventually revolutionise gender reassignment therapy and improve treatments for babies who are born with a mixed gender. The research, published today in the journal Cell, challenges a common perception that gender is determined purely by the X-chromosomes and Y-chromosomes. The gene that was switched off, known as FOXL2, lies on a non-sex chromosome that is shared by males and females.
Researchers had merely expected the female mice to stop producing eggs. Other than the change in gender characteristics, the test animals appeared to experience no other physical changes and lived a normal lifespan.

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another great find courtesy of JMG