Uganda faced a backlash for its homophobic legislation. Will California?

After years of efforts by American evangelical missionaries in collusion with pandering local politicians, Uganda passed a law in 2014 which made homosexual acts punishable by life in prison (an improvement on its 2013 “kill the gays” legislation). But though Uganda’s high court later overturned the law on a technicality, America quickly cut aid to the nation and calls for a trade boycott in Britain were swift, before the law was considered again.

So will the State of California face the threat of similar federal sanctions for its own proposed “kill the gays” referendum?

In attempting to put the Sodomite Suppression Act – which allows “any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification” to “be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method” – on the ballot in California, attorney Matt McLaughlin has made it clear that too many people in the United States are no better than those in Uganda who earned our country’s opprobrium.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve argued with Americans who in private or in print have asserted that Western countries are superior to backwards and unenlightened African nations like Uganda because of the alleged better treatment of our LGBT citizens. This racially troubling myth of black homophobia is an example of what Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole calls “the White-Savior Industrial Complex” and allows Americans to do things like downplay our role in exporting homophobic laws to Uganda in the first place. Such thinking led the Human Rights Campaign to call for a temporary recall of America’s ambassador to Uganda last year to “send one of the clearest signals possible that the United States will not tolerate such abuses to any person’s human rights.”

The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon and receives awards in the evening.

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