March 3rd, 2010 5:33 pm | by HANK STERN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

Insta-Update II on An Oregon Senator In The News

We reported a few weeks back on U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) leaning on the State Department to let Uganda know that passage of horrific anti-gay legislation (which would incarcerate or possibly sentence to death citizens for being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) would carry consequences for trade with the United States.

Wyden's office today released this response (PDF) from the State Department that says
The draft bill in Uganda has been sent to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, and no hearing or further action related to the bill is scheduled. As has been widely reported in the press, President Museveni warned in a January 20 speech to his party's National Executive Council that the bill was having a negative impact on Uganda's foreign policy interests and urged caution. He has also established a committee within the Executive Branch of his government to review the bill and make recommendations. We consider his statements and recent actions as positive, albeit preliminary steps, and we will continue a regular and frank dialogue with Ugandans on this issue.

And just as interestingly, the letter also says more expansively about gay rights in Africa
The State Department is also evaluating attitudes and laws that marginalize and criminalize and penalize the LGBT community in Africa more broadly. We have asked all of our embassies in Africa to report on host country laws and pending legislation that criminalizes homosexuality. In addition, our Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor has established a task force on LGBT issues to strategize a United States Government response to LBGT issues worldwide.
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