Openly gay American comedienne and talk show host Ellen Degeneres has said that the anti-gay bill being debated in the Ugandan parliament makes her “incredibly sad.”
The star, who came out in 1997, is one of the most popular celebrities in the US. She made the comment in a statement titled My Thoughts on Freedom, posted on her website, which read:
“I’m so thankful for the freedoms that we have in this country; the freedom of speech, the freedom to vote and the freedom to love who we want.
“And I want to say that what’s happening in Uganda makes me incredibly sad. There’s an “Anti-Gay Bill” that’s proposing to jail homosexuals. They are trying to give life sentences to same-sex couples, and the bill even proposes that they jail anyone who fails to report “gay activity” to the police within 24 hours.
“This is a horrible violation of human rights and I can’t believe something like this is being discussed in this day and age.
“I think we should be grateful for our freedoms this holiday season. Be thankful for the people who fight for them. And let’s continue to be an example to the world through our love and compassion.”
Degeneres has been married to actress Portia de Rossi since August 16, 2008.
In the past week, The European Parliament and The US State Department have also come out against the bill. The proposed law would impose the death penalty on anyone who has gay sex with an HIV positive person; even between consenting adults.
It would also maintain the current life sentence for gay sex as well as making it illegal to lobby for LGBT equality, provide any support for LGBT people or even write about LGBT rights. People will face jail time if they do not turn in gays and lesbians to the authorities.
“We believe that this legislation is a violation of human rights, that it will undermine the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda, that it will stigmatise a community, and that ultimately it will harm and damage Uganda’s human rights image and record, said the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson.
“We believe this legislation is inappropriate, should be withdrawn and is not the kind of legislation that we wish to see in Uganda and for that matter any other place.”