How A ‘Scientific Statement’ Convinced Uganda’s President To Sign The Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni taking an HIV test in October, 2013. CREDIT: AP PHOTO / STEPHEN WANDERA
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni taking an HIV test in October, 2013. CREDIT: AP PHOTO / STEPHEN WANDERA

On Friday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced that he would sign the infamous “Kill The Gays” bill into law, declaring “war on the homosexual lobby.” A final version of the bill has not been released publicly, but it’s understood to impose life sentences in prison for homosexuality, which is already illegal, though previous versions have also referred to the death penalty. It also bans gay advocacy, provides incentives for people to turn in people they know to be gay, and imposes seven years of jail to anyone who performs a same-sex marriage.

Museveni had previously said that he wouldn’t sign the bill, but left it to scientists to inform him whether homosexuality is genetic or “a behavior that is acquired.” Warren Throckmorton acquired a copy of the report that the scientists submitted, which reveals a clear bias in favor of the anti-homosexuality bill. Though the scientists do provide a significant amount of valid data, they also emphasize their belief that homosexuality is just a “behavior,” which they believe can be “learned” and which must be “regulated” to protect the “vulnerable.”

Here are a few claims the scientists make that are actually valid:

  • “Homosexual behavior has existed throughout human history including in Africa.”
  • “A singular determinant for sexual orientation has not been demonstrated. As a result, many scientists hypothesize that a combination of genetic, hormonal, psychological, environmental and social factors determines sexual orientation.”
  • “Reparative therapies to change people’s sexual practices have not proven successful and their scientific validity has remained questionable.”

Unfortunately, the scientists then offer claims with no supporting researching that people can be taught to be gay:

Psychosocial causes of homosexuality imply that it may be learned through experiences in life. Previous disastrous heterosexual encounters (e.g. erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation) may lead to aversion towards homosexual intercourse. A chance homosexual encounter in early life may be associated with sexual pleasure leading to homosexual relationships being associated with pleasure. The increasing influence of Western culture provides homosexuality as a choice one can make, it’s therefore seen as a socially acceptable option for a few. In conclusion, homosexual tendencies can be taken up based on the person’s judgement on what is pleasurable for them. Why this happens to some people is not clear, Whereas some homosexuals may take up the behaviour as an open choice, for others it may be due to indoctrination. In summary, homosexuality has no clear cut cause, several factors are involved which differ from individual to individual. It’is not a disease that has a treatment.

De-emphasizing the research that shows genetic, epigenetic, and prenatal influences on sexuality (male sexuality, at least), the scientists recommend “the need to regulate sexualities”:

Today the world has come to the realization that indeed homosexuality is a minority sexual expression practiced by some few members of the community. But, like heterosexuality, it needs to be regulated. No country, in the world today, has come up with a successful way to regulate human sexuality, hence the daily scandals and rapes of this world including sexual and gender based violence or human trafficking for sex. That vulnerable populations (including children, minorities, refugees, the poor, the elderly, mentally ill, etc.) need to be protected against sexual (and other) exploitations is not in question. African cultures had contained sexual vices. May be we need to revisit them to contain the present explosion of overt and coercive homosexual activity with the exploitation of our young children.

Because of this report, Museveni and his party believe the anti-homosexuality law will “protect Ugandans from social deviants.”


President Obama criticized Museveni on Sunday for supporting the bill, calling it “a step backward for all Ugandans” that will “reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people.” Obama’s administration has stressed to Museveni that “enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda.”

(HT: Box Turtle Bulletin.)