Anti-Gay Activist Sued By Ugandan Gay Rights Group
Scott Lively, an anti-gay American activist who has been involved in the "ex-gay" movement, was recently sued by a gay rights group from Uganda for promoting a proposed law that could sentience Ugandan homosexuals to death, the New York Times reported.
The group, Sexual Minorities Uganda, filed a suit in federal court in Massachusetts on Wednesday and accused Lively of violating international law. The lawsuit claims that in early 2002, Lively conspired with Ugandan religious and political leaders to create anti-gay hysteria and said that gays would "sodomize African children and corrupt their culture," the newspaper pointed out.
The bill was written by Ugandan legislator David Bahati who first introduced it in 2009. The bill was withdrawn after U.S. and some European nations criticized the legislation. However, the Ugandan Parliament reintroduced the act last month, which would give the death penalty to anyone engaging in consensual homosexual acts. The country’s government does not support the proposed law, however.
The organization is suing Lively under the alien tort statue, which allows people from other countries to sue in American courts if they are violating an international law. The group’s suit alleged that because of Lively, a number of Ugandan homosexuals have been persecuted, arrested, tortured and murdered.
"That’s about as ridiculous as it gets. I’ve never done anything in Uganda except preach the Gospel and speak my opinion about the homosexual issue. There’s actually no grounds for litigation on this," Lively said, who currently resides in Springfield, Mass. He also said he had not been served and was not aware of the suit against him.
Lively runs Abiding Truth and is the author of two anti-gay books. One tells parents how to "gay proof" their children and the other claims that gays are the cause for the Nazi movement.
"This is not just based on his speech. It’s based on his conduct" Pamela C. Spees said, a lawyer representing Sexual Minorities Uganda said. "Belief is one thing, but actively trying to harm and deprive other people of their rights is the definition of persecution."
The Times also noted that Lively has traveled to Uganda and other African countries to tell Christian leaders to protect their countries against Western LGBT activists. When he returned from his trip in 2009, he posted a report about how he discussed the "gay agenda" with lawyers, Parliament members, Christian leaders and others.
Frank Mugisha, a member of the Sexual Minorities Uganda, said that before 2009 gays were "looked at as different" but "no one bothered them."
MassEquality, a LGBT rights organization based in Massachusetts, made a statement about the lawsuit.
"Scott Lively can claim that he has not harmed anyone by speaking out against LGBT people in Uganda, but that does not make it true. In 2009, he traveled to Uganda and preached that gay people sodomize children," the group’s executive director, Kara Suffredini said. "After Lively’s appearance, the Ugandan parliament proposed a bill imposing the death penalty on gay Ugandans. The most recent Human Rights Report on Uganda from the State Department notes that Uganda is known for engaging in ’serious human rights abuses’ which include acts of ’violence and discrimination’ against LGBT people," she continued.
"To travel to Uganda and slander LGBT people is to incite grave violence against them. Lively’s words and actions are dramatically inconsistent with the values of the great Commonwealth in which he lives and a shameful disgrace to our country. He should be held accountable."