Sen. Al Franken has signed on to a Senate resolution condemning a bill before Uganda's Parliament that would outlaw homosexuality and make it a crime punishable by death. (Hat tip: Minnesota Independent.)
What makes the resolution sponsored by Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold so interesting is that it allies Franken, an unabashed liberal, with co-sponsor Tom Coburn, a died-in-the-wool right-wing Republican. The common ground: Saving lives.
Here's what Coburn toldGOProud, a gay and lesbian Republican group: "Over the past two decades, political, religious, and community leaders in Uganda have united to promote a rare, winning strategy against HIV that addresses the unique and common risks of every segment of society. Sadly, some who oppose Uganda's common sense ABC strategy are using an absurd proposal to execute gays to undermine this coalition and winning strategy. Officials in Uganda should come to their senses and take whatever steps are necessary to withdraw this proposal that will do nothing but harm a winning strategy that is saving lives."
Here's the full text of resolution:
Whereas a bill introduced on October 14, 2009, by a member of Parliament in Uganda would expand penalties for homosexuality to include the death penalty and requires citizens to report information about homosexuality to the police or face imprisonment;
Whereas many countries criminalize homosexuality, and in some countries, such as Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, the penalty for homosexuality includes the death penalty;
Whereas the United States, in seeking to promote the core American principles of equality and 'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,' has long championed the universality of human rights;
Whereas religious leaders in the United States, along with representatives from the Vatican and the Anglican Church, have stated that laws criminalizing homosexuality are unjust; and
Whereas the people and Government of the United States recognize that such laws undermine our commitment to combating HIV/AIDS globally through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by stigmatizing and criminalizing vulnerable communities: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate--
(1) calls on members of the Parliament in Uganda to reject the 'Anti-Homosexuality Bill' recently proposed in that country;
(2) urges the governments of all countries to reject and repeal similar criminalization laws; and
(3) encourages the Secretary of State to closely monitor human rights abuses that occur because of sexual orientation and to encourage the repeal or reform of laws such as the proposed 'Anti-Homosexuality Bill' in Uganda that permit such abuses.
The other co-sponsors of the resolution include: Roland Burris, D-Ill., Benjamin Cardin, D-Md.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.; Carl Levin, D-Mich.; and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.