During the past 48 hours, we have learned that the Uganda legislature has passed what is one of the most draconian anti-civil rights bills targeting sexual minorities in the world – bookended between announcements that two more US states – New Mexico and Utah – are constitutionally prohibited from excluding same gender couples from civil marriage.
From the Salt Lake City Tribune this afternoon:
A federal judge in Utah Friday struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.
“The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. “Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”
Meanwhile, Bryan Fischer, spokesperson for the American Family Association, was tweeting this about the situation in Uganda. I don’t know that we could have had a more timely and chilling reminder of the fact that as LGBTI people in the US move closer to attaining full civil rights, anti-gay activists who are rapidly losing ground here are focusing more of their lethal attention on our sisters and brothers in other countries.
It also leaves no doubt, in case you had any, about why the American Family Association has been designated a hate group. The “public policy” of which Fischer so approves is not about who can and cannot get married. The Uganda bill he celebrates at best negates the right to merely exist as an LGBTI person and remain free, let alone any right to challenge discrimination. And he leaves no doubt that this is the public policy Bryan Fischer and those like him would gladly implement in the US if they could: “It can be done,” he says longingly.
As I said at the time we learned that another American hate group leader, Scott Lively, was being prosecuted for aiding and abetting the systematic persecution of Uganda’s LGBTI community – including his guidance in drafting this bill – “it is precisely the advances toward equality won by LGBTI people in the US that encourage American hate group leaders like Lively to export their hatred elsewhere. We share some responsibility for the deadly results.”
At the same time that we are understandably celebrating advances toward a long-fought recognition of our personhood by our own country, we are witnesses to the unfolding commission of a crime against humanity in Uganda.