Feb 24 6:56 PM

Is Obama’s criticism of Uganda’s anti-gay law hypocritical?

An anti-gay demonstration in Jinja, Uganda.
Trevor Snapp/AFP/Getty Images

Uganda’s anti-gay law, signed Monday by President Yoweri Museveni, has received criticism from many around the world, including condemnation from U.S. President Barack Obama. 

Some have pointed the finger back at Obama, however, calling his statements unfair and hypocritical. While some felt it was wrong for Obama to place pressure on a sovereign nation over its governance, others were bothered by the context in which he made the statement — in the midst of anti-LGBT laws moving forward throughout the U.S. as well as the U.S.’s remaining friendly with nations that have controversial policies similar to Uganda’s. 

Last week, on hearing the news that Museveni planned to sign a bill criminalizing homosexuality, Obama released a statement, part of which read, “We believe that people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love.”

Some were bothered by the statement’s content. Janice Shaw Crouse, spokeswoman for the conservative group Concerned Women for America, said the statement amounted to “cultural imperialism” and was dismissive of the religious beliefs that many Americans share.

In the same vein, Museveni said he wished the West would not try to impose its views on Africans.

Others focused on the context in which Obama made his statement. Some questioned why he was denouncing anti-gay laws abroad while he has yet to comment on or condemn discriminatory legislation being advanced at home.



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