An anti-gay evangelist will face trial starting on Monday for the first sexuality-based lawsuit using a statute which allows foreign parties to sue in American courts, for allegedly playing a part in the controversial Ugandan ‘kill the gays’ bill.
Scott Lively is being sued by the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda, which alleges that his actions in Uganda over the past ten years led to the persecution, torture, arrest and murder of gay people in the country. The New York Times reported:
“The lawsuit alleges that beginning in 2002, Mr. Lively conspired with religious and political leaders in Uganda to whip up anti-gay hysteria with warnings that homosexuals would sodomize African children and corrupt their culture.”
In 2009 Scott Lively met with Ugandan public figures to teach against what he described as “the gay agenda”. One of his Ugandan contacts proposed a bill which was considered by the Ugandan parliament, which would have imposed the death sentence for homosexual behaviour.
While in the capital, Kampala, he wrote a report for a website linked to his ministry which stated: “The international ‘gay’ movement has devoted a lot of resources to transforming the moral culture from a marriage-based one to one that embraces sexual anarchy.”
First issued in 2009, the legislation widely became known as the ‘kill the gays’ bill, referring to one of the clauses proposing death for offences such as “aggravated homosexuality”.
The bill had originally been withdrawn, after an outcry from the US and European nations, but a revised bill was introduced in December.
Emily Gray from Amnesty International had said: “We have noticed that the religious right-wing, particularly from America, has had a big impact on the levels of homophobia and incidences of intimation and violence.”
The Alien Tort Statute allows US courts to hold accountable individuals or corporations who have “committed gross human rights violations”.
Mr Lively co-authored the book, The Pink Swastika, which says in its introduction: “homosexuals [are] the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities”, and he is the former state director for California for the American Family Association.