Ugandan gay rights group sues American evangelist Scott Lively

Thu. March 15, 2012 3:22 PM by News Staff

Springfield, Mass. - A group of gay and lesbian activists from Uganda are suing evangelical Scott Lively in a U.S. court, accusing him of whipping up the Ugandan populace and putting the lives of LGBT Ugandans in danger.

Sexual Minorities Uganda sued Lively under the "alien tort statute," which the New York Times said "allows foreigners to sue in American courts in situations asserting the violation of international law."

Lively, who runs a church and coffee shop in Springfield, Mass., gave money to Ugandans who were supportive of a death penalty for homosexuals. The law was proposed in 2009, but didn't pass, partly because the United States and EU countries threatened to cut off aid.

The New York Times spoke to Lively about the lawsuit.

"That's about as ridiculous as it gets," he said. "I've never done anything in Uganda except preach the Gospel and speak my opinion about the homosexual issue."

Lively's take on the "homosexual issue" is about as extreme as it gets. He's published pamphlets called "The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party" and "Seven Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child," which is supposedly a way to make sure your child doesn't turn out gay.

U.S.-based attorney Pamela Spees said Lively has gone beyond free speech and has incited violence through his trips to Uganda.

"It's based on his conduct," Spees said. "Belief is one thing, but actively trying to harm and deprive other people of their rights is the definition of persecution."