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GOP Congressman Traveled to Uganda to Give Speech Praising Anti-LGBTQ Law

The GOP lawmaker urged Ugandan leaders to "stand firm" against international opposition and condemnation of the law.

Rep. Tim Walberg leaves the House Republican Conference caucus meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C., on November 29, 2023.

A Republican congressman traveled to Uganda in October to praise the country’s government for passing a law that criminalized homosexuality with harsh punishments, including the death penalty.

Details of Rep. Tim Walberg’s (R-Michigan) travels to the central African country were revealed in reporting from TYT this week, which noted that both his trip and his keynote speech to attendees of Uganda’s National Prayer Breakfast were “little-noticed” at the time they occurred.

Walberg’s trip was paid for by the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast, which has recently seen a leadership change that has pushed its already conservative gatherings further to the right, promoting extremely anti-LGBTQ views. Video from the event — which included Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who signed the anti-gay legislation into law in May — showcases speakers describing pro-LGBTQ advocates as forces “from the bottom of hell” while also urging the government to adopt a Christian nationalist “Christocracy” over a democracy.

Walberg was explicit in expressing support for the law, officially titled the Anti-Homosexuality Act, and encouraged lawmakers to dismiss calls from international organizations and other country’s leaders — including U.S. President Joe Biden — to repeal it.

Citing biblical passages, Walberg called the opinions of international organizations that have condemned the law — including the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the World Bank — “worthless.”

“Though the rest of the world is pushing back on you, though there are other major countries that are trying to get into you and ultimately change you, stand firm,” Walberg said. “Stand firm.”

Walberg, addressing himself and his listeners as a collective “we,” continued:

Whose side do we want to be on? God’s side. Not the World Bank, not the United States of America, necessarily, not the U.N. God’s side.

After hearing the speech in person, Museveni said that Walberg’s words demonstrated to Ugandans supportive of his anti-LGBTQ policies that there are people in the U.S. who “think like us.”

The law allows the government of Uganda to arrest and convict individuals who “promote” homosexuality or engage in same-sex relationships. Being gay was already a crime in the country before, but the law adds stricter punishments to those statutes, including the death penalty for individuals convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.”

The act is “a tragic violation of universal human rights — one that is not worthy of the Ugandan people, and one that jeopardizes the prospects of critical economic growth for the entire country,” President Joe Biden said shortly after its passage.

The law also has rare bipartisan opposition within Congress, with Walberg’s defense of it being a minority opinion — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), for example, who is hardly a trusted defender of LGBTQ rights in the U.S., also blasted the Uganda law as “horrific & wrong” and called on “all civilized nations” to condemn it.

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