WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- U.S. President Obama said Sunday he was "deeply disappointed" Uganda will implement a law criminalizing homosexuality.
In a statement issued by the White House while Obama was in California, the president noted Americans "believe that people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love."
"That is why I am so deeply disappointed that Uganda will shortly enact legislation that would criminalize homosexuality," Obama said. "The anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda, once law, will be more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda. It will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda's commitment to protecting the human rights of its people."
Obama said it will also be a "serious setback for all those around the world who share a commitment to freedom, justice and equal rights."
He said his administration has let Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni passage of the law "will complicate" U.S.-Uganda relations.
"At a time when, tragically, we are seeing an increase in reports of violence and harassment targeting members of the LGBT community from Russia to Nigeria, I salute all those in Uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons," Obama said.