I don’t know a thing about U.S.-Uganda relations. But it strikes me as essentially cost-free for the Obama administration to put the principles of the Nobel speech into practice by telling the Museveni government that those relations will be severely jeopardized if the parliament passes a disgusting bill that would sanction imprisonment and violence against gay Ugandans. A longstanding principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that governments do not have a right to impunity. The international community has the responsibility to get Uganda off the path toward institutional persecution. There has to be something Amb. Rice can do through the U.N. Human Rights Council as well.

It’s good to see Sen. Feingold, for one, taking a clear and active stance against the kill-the-gays bill:

I share the outrage of many political, religious and civic leaders in Uganda and around the world about the “anti-homosexuality bill” before the Ugandan Parliament. If enacted, this inhumane bill would sanction new levels of violence against people in Uganda based solely on their gender or sexual orientation. Its passage would hurt the close working relationship between our two countries, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Over the last month, I have conveyed these concerns to the State Department and directly to President Museveni, and I urge Uganda’s leaders to reject this bill.

Now it’s time for the Obama administration to rally the international community into action.

(An additional disgrace: I would not know about this bill were it not for Rachel Maddow. I don’t know if that’s an indictment of the media or an indictment of me. But it’s certainly a laurel for Rachel.)

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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