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in brief: ugandan president signs anti-gay bill

563px-LGBT_flag_map_of_Uganda.svg

Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, has signed a bill that will toughen the penalties for LGBT people, including life sentences for gay sex and same-sex marriage.

While a proposed sentence of up to 14 years for first-time offenders has been removed, homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda.

President Museveni had previously agreed to hold the bill pending scientific advice from the US, amidst comments from US President Barack Obama that it would be a backwards step for the country.

The Ugandan leader had said in a statement, ‘I… encourage the US Government to help us by working with our scientists to study whether, indeed, there are people who are born homosexual.’

‘When that is proved, we can review this legislation,’ he said.

BBC reporter Catherine Byaruhanga says it is rare for the president to assent to bills so publicly, but that this one had become so controversial that the media were invited to witness the signing.

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