The Uganda Humanist Association (UHASSO) has today warned religious leaders that their words will travel and may be used to promote an agenda beyond their intended purpose. The comments come on the back of a “warning” from Archbishop John Sentamu which was intended for the British political class, but which today appears on the front page of New Vision, the most widely read newspaper in Uganda.

Peter Kisirinya, Chair of UHASSO, said, “The UK obviously has a relatively strong record when it comes to protecting LGBT people from abuse and discrimination.  They have legalised “civil partnerships” between same-sex couples and are considering extending this to marriage. Archbishop Sentamu may disagree that same-sex couples should be afforded this right. But he must consider that as a senior member of the Anglican Communion and a member of the Ugandan diaspora his words will carry beyond the Church of England, beyond the UK political class, beyond the UK media. He has a right to free speech, but he is also morally obliged to consider the wider impact of his words.

Front page news – continued on page 3 (see below)

“A statement condemning gay marriage from a Ugandan in high office in the Anglican Communion now appears on the front page of the leading Ugandan daily newspaper, a paper associated with the current NRM government which has been attempting to pass the infamous Anti-homosexuality Bill. In a country where LGBT activists struggle to be heard and where LGBT people, in particular after the murder of David Kato last year, fear for their lives, and where proposed anti-homosexuality legislation has been condemned around the world, statements such as this from a Church which remains highly popular in Uganda will make the situation worse.

“First, they associate a Ugandan-born man of high office in the UK with anti-gay views, effectively creating a champion for Ugandan opponents of gay rights to look to. Second, by predicting political support “across the benches and in the Commons”, Sentamu’s words imply that there is a widespread moral majority, based in Christianity (the predominant religion of Uganda) which stands against the further extension of LGBT equality in the UK (and as we understand it, that is not really the case).

“We call on Archbishop Sentamu to consider the wider application of his words as a senior member of the Church of England and to remember Uganda where the dignity, safety, and the very lives of LGBT people are under severe threat.”

The attack calling Cameron a “dictator” for considering gay marriage receives prominent coverage also on page 3

The Uganda Humanist Association stands up for the human rights and equality of marginalised people in Uganda, regardless of artificial divisions such as tribe and nationality, or intrinsic characteristics such as sex and sexuality.


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