President Barack Obama issued a statement today regarding the killing of Ugandan gay activist David Kato, who was beaten to death late Wednesday night. Kato, according to the Associated Press, worked for Sexual Minorities Uganda, a gay-rights advocacy group.
According to the AP, local police said that Kato's sexual orientation was not a factor in his murder, but last year, Kato appeared in the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone with a number of other allegedly gay men next to a headline that read, "Hang Them!"
I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of David Kato. In Uganda, David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate. He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom. The United States mourns his murder, and we recommit ourselves to David’s work.
At home and around the world, LGBT persons continue to be subjected to unconscionable bullying, discrimination, and hate. In the weeks preceding David Kato’s murder in Uganda, five members of the LGBT community in Honduras were also murdered. It is essential that the Governments of Uganda and Honduras investigate these killings and hold the perpetrators accountable.
LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights. My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad. We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all.
There is also a political movement in Uganda to criminalize a number of homosexual acts with the penalty of death. The author of a proposed such bill, David Bahati, appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show in early Dec. to discuss the idea behind the legislation.
If you haven’t seen the interview, you need to watch it.