UPDATE: According to Doug Hadden, the Vice President of Communications for the International Consortium of Governmental Financial Management, "David Bahati will not be attending this conference." Bahati, for his part, is still telling folks that he's attending. But conference organizers have said they will not allow him to attend, and are hiring extra security to make sure that he cannot participate. An official statement from ICGFM says: "It is clear that his participation would be contradictory to our mission."
For the past year, the country of Uganda has stood on the precipice of passing extremely violent legislation that would criminalize homosexuality with the death penalty or life imprisonment. Now the author of this legislation, MP David Bahati, is apparently set to participate in a prominent U.S. conference sponsored by global business leaders.
According to Warren Throckmorton, a Christian psychologist and blogger covering Uganda's efforts to criminalize homosexuality, Bahati is set to attend a December 6-8 conference in D.C. held by the International Consortium on Government Financial Management. The conference is set to take place at the Enrique Iglesias Conference Center at the Inter-American Development Bank.
The conference is also sponsored by Grant Thornton, an international accounting and consulting firm; Casals & Associates, an international development company; FreeBalance, a global software solutions company; Mosley & Associates, a management consulting outfit; and Graduate School, a worldwide group running government-centered education programs.
Are these companies, as well as the International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management, okay with a politician who advocates the death penalty for gay people participating in their conference?
That hardly seems appropriate. Bahati is a person who would approve of a genocide toward LGBT people in his country. He does not belong at the table of world business and political leaders.
Send these outlets a message that they should do everything in their power to prevent Bahati from attending this conference. His participation in such a prominent event only legitimizes his political stature, and welcomes someone who would commit terror toward LGBT peopel into the United States.
Bahati is the chief sponsor of legislation in Uganda known as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This is a piece of legislation that would institute the death penalty for gays and lesbians, as well as prison sentences for straight people who support gay rights. It has been condemned by leaders around the world, yet that hasn't stopped Bahati's desire to pass it. Indeed, as recent as two weeks ago, Bahati said he was determined to pass this law, and hoped to do so as early as February 2011.
If the reports are true that Bahati is attending this conference, this would be a grave injustice. Letting Bahati attend such a prominent gathering of world political and business leaders only legitimizes his stature. Furthermore, it welcomes someone who would approve of genocide toward gays and lesbians into this country. It's distracting for your conference, and demoralizing for the work of so many to stop the campaign of terror against gays and lesbians in Uganda.
I urge you to make sure David Bahati is not welcome at your conference. No business should have their name attached to an event that welcomes someone like Bahati at the table. His is a campaign to terrorize gay people in Uganda, and this campaign should not be rewarded with a plum spot at American conferences.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.