Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she'd have to "check into" an Egypt anti-gay bill before condemning it. (Screenshot via CSPAN)

White House Must 'Check Into' Egypt Anti-Gay Bill Before Condemning

by Chris Johnson

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stopped short of condemning a proposal in Egypt that would criminalize homosexual acts in Egypt with up to five years in prison, saying she'd have to "check into" the situation.

Sanders made the remarks Oct. 27 in response to a question from the Washington Blade on whether she'd condemn the measure, which Egypt lawmakers seem ready to pass amid a general anti-gay crackdown in the country.

"I'm not aware of the specifics of that, so I would have to look into that before I could make a response, but we will certainly be happy to check into it," Sanders said.

The Blade followed up with Sanders with an email request for a statement of condemnation, but had not heard back by the time of this posting.

The measure would make same-sex relations punishable with between one and three years of prison for a one-time offense, but repeated violators could face up to five years in prison. The proposal would also criminalize "inciting" same-sex relations, advertising an LGBT party, attending an LGBT party or carrying any symbol of LGBT community, such as a Pride flag.

Homosexual acts aren't currently illegal in Egypt, but law enforcement have persecuted gay and bisexual men in the country under the more general offense of "debauchery." Last month, Egyptian authorities arrested at least seven people who waived a rainbow flag during a rock concert in Cairo.

According to Human Rights Watch, Egypt's parliament is likely to pass the legislation, which will then head to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for his signature before becoming law.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National Gay Media Association.
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