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Gay rights, Barbara Bush and David Kato

February 1, 2011 |  2:12 pm

David kato Barbara Bush deserves all the attention (and praise) she's getting for throwing her lot in with gay rights advocates in New York state, where a bill to legalize same-sex marriage was defeated in 2009. Though her words are unremarkable and, given recent polls, practically mainstream, the fact that her father made gay-baiting a centerpiece of his reelection campaign makes her views on the subject newsworthy. Likewise, her mother received much attention when she revealed last year that she privately opposed her husband's call in 2004 for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. With so many Bushes coming out on the side of marriage equality, one starts to wonder if George W. is the real gay-rights rogue of the family.

But if you want a real profile in courage, I suggest you read the New York Times' Jan. 27 story on Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato, who was beaten to death in his country last week. His bravery was nothing short of heroic, as persisted in a country where the public dialogue on gays and lesbians resembles the pre-genocide propaganda in Rwanda that contributed to the slaughter of nearly 1 million Tutsis.

It's not known for sure yet whether Kato's death came at the hands of anti-gay thugs, but his slaying should draw international scorn over the poisonous atmosphere in Uganda, where lawmakers are considering a bill to turn homosexuality into a capital offense. The Times' editorial board will weigh in later Tuesday afternoon on Kato's activism and what his government's abhorrent behavior on gay rights should mean for U.S.-Uganda relations.


Uganda needs a lesson in gay rights

Resolute Republicans to go after D.C.'s gays, symbolically

Marriage: A word? A relationship? Are the two the same?

After New York, will marriage equality have to wait?

-- Paul Thornton

Photo: A Ugandan carries a picture of slain gay activist David Kato during his funeral Friday.

Credit: Marc Hofer / AFP/Getty Images

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