Press Releases

US Pastor Sued for Inciting Violence against Gay Community in Uganda

Posted on: Thursday, March 15, 2012

Keywords: Africa, Human Rights Advocacy, Sexual Rights

Sexual Minorities Uganda, a Ugandan gay rights group, is suing Massachusetts evangelist Scott Lively for inciting violence against the gay and lesbian community in Uganda. The lawsuit accuses Lively of conspiring with religious and political leaders to whip up anti-gay panic in Uganda. It also asserts that Lively played a key role in drafting Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the original version of which called for the criminalization of homosexuality, a crime punishable by the death penalty. MADRE Board Member Pam Spees is a lawyer on the case.

Uganda’s gay and lesbian community has faced increasing hostility and violence in recent years. Following the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2009, LGBTI persons and LGBTI rights defenders were routinely harassed and threatened. In January 2011, Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was murdered. A revised version of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill has recently been reintroduced in parliament, calling for life-imprisonment for certain homosexual acts.

The lawsuit is being filed under a statute that allows foreigners to sue in US courts when international law has been violated. Activists claim Lively’s actions and calls for violence directly resulted in the persecution, arrest, torture and murder of gay men and lesbians in Uganda.

MADRE supports Sexual Minorities Uganda and our partners at the Center for Constitutional Rights in their efforts to hold Lively accountable for violations of international law and to continue to protect the human rights of LGBTI persons and activists in Uganda.

For more information on this case, click on the links below:

“LGBT Uganda Fights Back: The Case against Scott Lively,” The Center for Constitutional Rights

“Ugandan group sues anti-gay pastor in US,” The Guardian (March 15, 2012)

“Ugandan Gay Rights Group Sues U.S. Evangelist,” The New York Times (March 14, 2012)

“Scott Lively, U.S. Pastor, Wages Uganda Anti-Gay Effort, Lawsuit Alleges,” The Huffington Post (March 14, 2012)


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