Uganda enacts harsh anti-gay law with death penalty

STORY: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has signed one of the world's toughest anti-LGBTQ laws, which includes the death penalty.

Same-sex relations were already illegal in Uganda, as in more than 30 African countries, but the new law goes much further.

The move has drawn Western condemnation and could risk some of the billions in foreign aid that Uganda receives.

It stipulates capital punishment for so-called "serial offenders" against the law and transmission of a terminal illness like HIV/AIDS through gay sex.

It also decrees a 20-year sentence for, quote, "promoting" homosexuality.

Activists have vowed a legal challenge to the law.

Ugandan activist Delovie "Papa de" Kwagala said the law would do harm beyond the country's borders.

“This is bad news, this is not just for queer Ugandans. But for queer people across the African continent. Ghana has literally been on it for months. Tanzania. Nigeria. All of these other countries that I’m also not mentioning, it’s just like, they have been waiting for this.”

Museveni has called homosexuality a "deviation from normal" and urged lawmakers to resist "imperialist" pressure.

He had insisted lawmakers tone down parts of the law, but his ultimate approval was not seen as in doubt.

Anti-LGBTQ attitudes have hardened in conservative Uganda in recent years, in part due to campaigning by Western evangelical church groups.

"You are arresting us for literally doing nothing, for simply existing, you know, but where are we supposed to go? How did we become refugees in our own countries?"

Washington and the European Union have condemned the bill.

The UN and the Global Fund to fight AIDS said the law put Uganda's fight against HIV "in grave jeopardy."