“You see, the mere mention of benefits for same-sex couples on a website, or the mere mention of inclusion of LGBT people in corporate diversity hiring policies, are tantamount to the “promotion” of homosexuality in Uganda, under the AHB!”
Melanie Nathan, 02/27/2012,
Last week I received a phone call from the folks at Change.org asking my opinion on a Petition to Barclays and Citibank regarding the kill the Gays Bill in Uganda. They had noted my two years of articles on the subject, calling for comments from Barclays and Starbucks.
Now Change.org has a petitioning customer of Citibank who is so incensed that he may be banking with a financial institution that is in essence contributing to a society that believes gays and lesbians should die for their homosexuality.
The result is a petition, with a quest for the financial institutions to speak out against The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. I want my readers to know that I consulted with Change.or on this petition and it has my full support.
It is not my first choice to call for boycotts or divestment; yet I do believe that we as a community ought to be calling for comments. The executives of these companies should be first in line to educate the Ugandans and other African countries about the fact that sexuality is a human right.
We should be hearing these companies talking to Ugandan parliamentarians, not necessarily with threats at this time, but with words of truth and wisdom. Their comments are already late as I have called for this years ago. But thanks now to Change.org taking an interest in the issue, perhaps this can bring about the much needed verbosity on the subject!
There is a fine line between potential backlash against gay people in Uganda now and the need to speak up for the ramifications of what has become known as “The Kill The Gays Bill.”
The Petition has become an overnight sensati0n as people suddenly realize the meaning of doing business with a country that wants to step up the punishment for diversity in sexuality. Uganda already criminalizes homosexuality in any event under a vague penal code condemning “acts against the order of nature.” The new Bahati Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) steps up the ante and seeks to criminalize the so called “promotion of homosexuality.”
Promotion of homosexuality is a vague and false term and really an excuse to institutionalize persecution of LGBT people in Uganda.
What people should note and what has yet to be expressed widely is the ramifications of the Anti-homosexuality Bill on institutions such as Barclays and Citibank, which overtly support diversity in their hiring policies.
If the AHB passes, and “promotion of homosexuality” is a crime, corporations such as Barclays and Citibank will not be able to legitimately do business in Uganda as they and their employees will in effect be criminalized for “promoting homosexuality.”
You see, the mere mention of benefits for same-sex couples on a website, or the mere, mention of inclusion of LGBT people in corporate diversity hiring policies, are tantamount to the “promotion” of homosexuality!
Barclays, Citibank, Starbucks et all… must all speak out now.
Aside note: WHO DOES DAVID BAHATI BANK WITH?
The Petition has a simple request of Barclays and Citibank. “ASK CITIBANK AND BARCLAYS TO CONDEMN UGANDA’S “KILL THE GAYS” BILL”. Citibank and Barclays have hundreds of millions of dollars in assets in Uganda and more than 1,000 employees.
The Change.org campaign and Colin Burton petition: More than 160,000 people have joined a campaign on Change.org launched three days ago by Collin Burton, a gay Citibank customer from Washington, D.C., calling on Citibank and Barclays to protest a piece of legislation in Uganda that would allow gay people to be executed for their sexual orientation. Citibank and Barclays have heavily invested in Uganda.
The Citibank customer says he launched the campaign on Change.org because he does not want his money to support a government that would execute people for being gay.
“I expect Citibank and Barclays to live up to the values of equality and fairness, not just list them on their websites,” said Burton. “Protecting gay and lesbian Ugandans from the ‘kill the gays’ bill shouldn’t just be a battle waged by global citizens – it should also be the responsibility of the international business community.”
The recently introduced 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 or gender identity.
According to 2010 financial reports, Citibank has almost $300 million in assets invested in Uganda and is a major leader in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce based in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. Barclays, Uganda’s third largest bank, has more than 1,000 employees and 51 branches throughout the country. “Given their commitments to diversity and the severity of the proposed legislation, condemning this dangerous bill is the least Citibank and Barclays can do to help save lives in Uganda,” Burton added. “The 160,000 people who’ve signed the petition over the last few days agree with me.”
In the U.S. and U.K. respectively, Citibank and Barclays have been strong supporters of LGBT rights. Both companies have non-discrimination and harassment policies, both offer health insurance benefits to domestic partners, and both have resource groups to help their LGBT employees. Citibank has received a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, and Barclays was recently named the most LGBT-friendly company in all of Scotland by Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.
“Collin is asking Citibank and Barclays to follow the corporate values they support around the world, and his campaign on Change.org has inspired 160,000 others to join him,” said Change.org Campaign Manager Mark Anthony Dingbaum.
Live signature totals from Collin Burton’s campaign:
For those needing to understand the reasoning behind the request of these financial organization, reading my earlier articles may help:
“Diversity and our People
Talented people are the foundation of our success, whatever their style, personality, age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability….. BARCLAYS WEBSITE”
And so in 2011 – I asked surely:- Barclays Bank – must come out now and speak out against Uganda’s Kill the Gays Bill –and then much to the critique of some threatened – “or we will call for an International Boycott. “
What does the President of Uganda think about all this?