STUDENTS, ALUMS URGE NOTRE DAME TO CONDEMN UGANDA’S “KILL THE GAYS” BILL

  • Uganda’s “Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” which would establish life in prison and possible death sentences for gay people in Uganda, is moving toward passage in nation’s Parliament;
  • Change.org petition started by Notre Dame alum who studied abroad in Uganda while in college;
  • Notre Dame has significant presence in Uganda, sending students and faculty to the country and sharing significant Catholic connections via the Congregation of the Holy Cross

SOUTH BEND, IN – Thousands of students and graduates from the University of Notre Dame have joined an urgent new petition on Change.org calling on the renowned university to publicly condemn legislation in Uganda that would criminalize homosexuality with life in prison and possible death sentences. Known as the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” the legislation could be passed by Uganda’s Parliament any day now, and would institute some of the harshest criminal penalties in the world for gay people in the country.

The petition on Change.org was started by Katie Dunn, a 2009 graduate of the University of Notre Dame who studied abroad in Uganda during her time as a student. It’s been signed by hundreds of current students and alums of Notre Dame, who note that the university has strong ties to the country through the Ugandan Catholic church.

Dunn said she started the campaign on Change.org because her college education instilled in her a passion for human rights.

“Notre Dame is highly respected and involved in Uganda. A statement from Notre Dame condemning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be very powerful in persuading the Ugandan Catholic church and wider Uganda to stand against this bill,” said Dunn. “Notre Dame sends students and faculty to Uganda.  It is responsible for their safety.  To stand by silently now is to be complicit in endangering them in the future.”

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda could allow gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Ugandans to be killed or sentenced to life in prison solely because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. In recent weeks, there has been a renewed push by Ugandan politicians to pass the bill, with the speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, saying that passing the violent bill would be a “Christmas gift” from Uganda to the world.

Many other religious leaders with connections to Uganda have condemned efforts to criminalize homosexuality with these harsh penalties. Pastor Rick Warren, the head of Saddleback Church and a best-selling author, has urged Uganda not to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and Rev. Joyce Meyer, a major U.S. televangelist with operations in Uganda, has condemned the measure as well.

Dunn is hoping her alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, will join their ranks.

“Notre Dame is involved in Uganda. Its inaction is loud right now,” said Dunn. “Notre Dame has used a lot of rhetoric about how it respects LGBTQ people. We want to believe it. That’s why we think this is a great opportunity for Notre Dame to show the world that it truly does want to fulfill its Catholic mission.”

For more information on Change.org, please visit:

http://www.change.org/about
Change.org is the world’s largest petition platform, empowering people everywhere to create the change they want to see. There are more than 20 million users in 196 countries who use our tools to transform their communities – locally, nationally and globally.

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