US Evangelical Faces Court Over Ugandan Gay Persecution

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a federal lawsuit today, March 14, against an American anti-gay extremist over persecution of gay people in Uganda.

The suit is against Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a non-profit umbrella organization for LGBT advocacy groups in Uganda. The suit alleges that Lively’s involvement in anti-gay efforts in Uganda, including his active participation in the formulation of anti-gay legislation and policies aimed at revoking fundamental right from LGBT persons, constitutes persecution. This is the first known Alien Tort Statute (ATS) case seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Alien Tort Statute (ATS) allows for foreign victims of human rights abuses to seek civil remedies in American courts. Its use is before the Supreme court in a case involving Nigeria and Shell Oil.

Lively is best known for his role as featured speaker at an anti-gay conference held in Kampala in March 2009. During that conference, Lively touted his book, “The Pink Swastika,”  in which he claimed that gays were responsible for founding the Nazi Party and running the gas chambers in the Holocaust. Lively then went on to blame the Rwandan genocide on gay men and he charged that gay people were flooding into Uganda from the West to recruit children into homosexuality via child sexual molestation.

During that same trip, Lively met with several members of Uganda’s Parliament. Only two weeks later, there were already rumors that Parliament was drafting a new law that “will be tough on homosexuals.”

The public panic stoked by the March conference led to follow-up meetings, a march on Parliament and a massive vigilante campaign waged on radio and the tabloid press. Lively would later boast that his March 2009 talk was a “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda.”

Speaking via telephone from Uganda to Box Turtle Bulletin, SMUG Executive Director Frank Mugisha welcomed the filing. He said that when the March 2009 Kampala conference was announced, they had no idea how far that conference’s influence would go. Before 2009, he described an atmosphere where people were somewhat freer to live in groups as gay people, but after the conference there were demonstrations, meetings, reports of arrests, people being thrown out of their houses and churches, beatings, and severe curbs on freedom of assembly.

Just last month, Ugandan authorities raided a meeting by LGBT leaders at a hotel in Entebbe and tried to arrest Kasha Jacqueline Nabagese, founder of the lesbian rights group Freedom and Roam Uganda and the winner of highly prestigious international human rights awards.

Pam Spees, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights said:

[Lively] long ago set out a very specific and detailed methodology for stripping away the most basic human rights protections, to silence and ultimately disappear LGBT people.

She told the New York Times:

This is not just based on his speech. It’s based on his conduct. Belief is one thing, but actively trying to harm and deprive other people of their rights is the definition of persecution.

Evidence submitted by CCR tracks Lively’s efforts back to 2002. He has also been active in Russia, Moldova and Latvia.

Uganda’s so-called ‘Kill the Gays’ bill remains under consideration in the parliament and still includes the death penalty despite repeated claims that those clauses have been excised.

Related stories:

Ugandan Ethics Minister Raids Gay Rights Conference

Uganda Once Again Revives ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill

Gay Ugandan Refugee Freed From Detention


Jack Schlotte
Jack Schlotte4 years ago

This is what I post after articles like this one on the HORRID and UNCONSCIONABLE actions of Scott Lively and any other homophobic BIGOTS out there.
I truly hope the unthinking bigots out there discover THEY'VE got a gay relative, son, daughter, friend, coworker or acquaintance! Maybe THAT would end their discriminatory stupidity and bigotry once and for all. San Diego had a VERY conservative Republican mayor named Jerry Sanders whose lesbian daughter must have had a heart-to-heart talk with him. He changed his formerly antagonistic stance on gay marriage in a tear-filled emotional speech that can be watched on YouTube. If someone like THAT can become enlightened and join the 21st century, why can't everyone else? He said he could not, with a clear conscience, deny his daughter the same rights and legal protections as anyone else. GET IT? People don't vote on constitutional issues. Inter-racial marriages NEVER would have passed if the UNINFORMED, BIGOTED electorate got to vote on it. Courts decide constitutional issues! California's Prop. 8 is unconstitutional and has been judged so twice already in Federal courts. PLUS, in nationwide polls marriage equality already has the majority support of the general population. Remember, this is the 21st century, not the 1950's! This may change a few unthinking bigots minds out there!

Jude Hand
Judith Hand5 years ago

Interesting charges.

Stanley J.
Stanley J.5 years ago

Lively is a total nutcase racist who also hates gay people. He runs many "groups" where he proves he is the anti -christ of the bible.

He had moved from the south to Massachusets - Springfields and set up a coffee shop near a school to re-christianize MA. the guy he hired - looked wierd. Turns out the mgr of the coffee shop was a felon who had been convicted of molesting children and waS rated classs 2 in NY - meaning he most likely would do it again

sri I didnt save the pix but he also held a rally with about 75 people on Boston Commons - a large downtown part near the business district and the state house.

the pix showed a bunch of guys with small stars and bars flags stuck in their chairs.

These are the people talked about in the book "the christian right and the war on America" by Chris Hedges.

you can buy it via searh engine for about $10-$12 delievered.

WE need our army back home to proect us from the newest generation of those who gave us the slavery and civil war etc

Jerry M.
Jerry M.5 years ago

I am not in favor of murder.

KS Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Christy Elamma
Christy Elamma5 years ago

People like him are certainly NOT Christian, that is not what Christ was about at all. In fact, religions aside, his behavior, rantings and hate spawn are simply immoral, unethical and very far removed from humanity.

Barbara DeFratis
Barbara DeFratis5 years ago

"While Catholics and Evangelicals rail against what they perceive to be sin, they have become Satanic within their own churches, preaching to their followers to take up the Satanic ideals of hatred and violence, ideals that go directly and powerfully against what Christ teaches. You cannot profess to be Christian and spew this hatred and promote this violence. The two simply cannot exist together in the spirit. You may say that you are Christian, but by the evidence of your hearts, you prove to God that you are not." Robert F.

Excellent point. After all, it is Christian Extremism that will spell the end of Christianity, more than anything else.

Larry Leblanc
Larry LeBlanc5 years ago

Please lock this mad man up for ever.
He should read 'What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality" find it on Amazon.
Then he should read up on how gays were treated in Nazi prison camps, where doctors would throw hypodermic needles at their chest like darts just to see if they could survive, brutal punishment of all kinds...
He might change his mind.
This is 2012, wake up!

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran5 years ago


William Y.
William Y5 years ago

Lively's name should be Deadly.