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Ugandan LGBT Group Sues Anti-Gay Activist Scott Lively

A gay rights group in Uganda filed suit today against longtime anti-gay activist Scott Lively, according to The New York Times. The lawsuit, filed by Sexual Minorities Uganda, claims that, beginning in 2002, Lively conspired with Ugandan political and religious leaders to increase anti-gay fervor in the country with warnings that gay men would sodomize African children and pervert their culture.

Lively is being sued for persecution as a crime against humanity, under the alien tort statute, which allows non-Americans to sue in American courts if violations of international law are alleged. The suit further claims that Lively's actions "resulted in the persecution, arrest, torture and murder of homosexuals in Uganda."

Lively, based in Springfield, Mass., is the head of Abiding Truth Ministries, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a hate group. He is also the author of the notorious “history,” The Pink Swastika, a book that falsely claims that gay men filled the Nazi Party and were ultimately responsible for the Holocaust. (The book is regularly referenced by the worst anti-gay activists, men like Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, who has claimed that “[h]omosexuality gave us Adoph Hitler … the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.”) In 2009, Lively traveled to Uganda where he participated in a conference about the alleged evils of homosexuality. At that gathering, Lively discussed the evils of the "homosexual agenda", and further claimed that gays were instrumental in Nazism and probably in the Rwandan genocide as well.

While at the conference, Lively reportedly met with members of the Ugandan parliament, including David Bahati, and religious leaders. A month after the conference, Bahati introduced the notorious "Kill the Gays" bill, which authorized the death penalty for gay people in certain circumstances. After an international outcry, the bill initially stalled. But it was reintroduced this February.

Today’s lawsuit charges that Ugandan LGBT people’s “very existence has been demonized through a coordinated campaign, which LIVELY has largely initiated, instigated and directed, to attribute to the ‘genocidal’ ‘gay movement’ an irrepressible predilection to commit rape and child sexual abuse.”

Virtually all relevant American scientific associations have officially declared that the charge that gay men molest children at higher rates than straight men is false. But that has not stopped the American Family Association and other religious-right hate groups from repeating the baseless defamation.

According to a March 2011 report on Uganda issued by Human Rights Watch, harassment, threats and violence directed toward LGBT people in Uganda has escalated since the introduction of the bill. In 2010, David Kato, a prominent defender of gay rights in Uganda, was brutally murdered.

Asked to comment on the suit filed today, Lively told The New York Times that he had not yet been served and didn't know about it, but that it'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."

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