Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Councilman praises African gov't targeting gays
Chris Bragg September 3, 2014 12:01 a.m.
Updated: September 3, 2014 12:33 a.m.
A YouTube video has surfaced showing Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera in Uganda praising the leadership of the African country for its socially conservative positions, amid widespread international condemnation for its passing one of the world's most severe anti-gay laws.
The Ugandan law, which was passed last December by its parliament and signed in February, reportedly created lifetime prison sentences for some homosexual acts. (It initially would have imposed the death penalty, but was ultimately amended.) The law made it a crime to "promote" homosexuality, and to rent an apartment to an LGBT person without informing other tenants or the authorities.
Mr. Cabrera is attempting to unseat Bronx state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, and socially conservative positions may well hurt his chances in the Democratic primary. Gay rights activists recently reacted angrily when Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel endorsed Mr. Cabrera.
In a video shot during a visit to the African country in January, Mr. Cabrera, a socially conservative pastor in the Bronx, appeared to praise the country’s leaders for standing up to President Barack Obama and others who had condemned the Ugandan government's actions.
“Godly people are in government,” Mr. Cabrera said, referring to Uganda's leadership. “Gay marriage is not accepted in this country. Even when the United States of America has put pressure and has told Uganda, 'We’re not going to fund you anymore unless you allow gay marriage.' And they have stood in their place. Why? Because the Christians have assumed the place of decision-making for the nation.”
Mr. Cabrera goes on to praise the nation's socially conservative positions for an alleged rapid decline in the country’s AIDS rate, and says the infusion of religion into government has helped the country's financial outlook.
“It’s a place where people are coming out to do business,” Mr. Cabrera said. “Why? Because the righteous are ruling.”
The controversial law was recently struck down in court on a technicality, but may be reintroduced. Uganda's president believes homosexuality is a choice to embrace abnormal brain behavior.
The councilman's trip appears to have been part of efforts by Mr. Cabrera to make bunk beds for children at an orphanage. Mr. Cabrera’s campaign spokesman notes the councilman never specifically endorses the anti-gay law in the video.
"It's obvious to anyone who watches this video that the intent and purpose was to point out the positive influence that the church can have in a non-working government," the spokesman said. "This is another attempt by the Rivera camp to distort the truth and not address the issues facing the residents of the 33rd senatorial district."
Mr. Cabrera's comments about Ugandan leadership begin around the 10-minute mark of the video: