'Kill the gays' controversy hits the US
The gay rights movements of Africa have hit US shores with a lawsuit filed against an evangelical pastor and a connection made between the Kony 2012 movement and a vocal anti-gay pastor.
Sexual Minorities Uganda (Smug) is suing American pastor of the Abiding Truths Ministries Scott Lively on claims he assisted Uganda's controversial “kill the gays” legislation.
“We are suing him for conspiring with Ugandan officials to draw up anti-homosexual legislation and for spreading propaganda that led to people suffering harassment and violence,” said SMUG director Frank Mugisha.
“He was the main speaker at the conference and he said there was a gay agenda to recruit children and promote gay lifestyles to undermine traditional African family values.
“We hope that he will be held accountable for what he did in Uganda.”
The suit claims that Lively, the author of The Pink Swastika, was one of a number of US preachers who addressed an anti-gay conference in Uganda during 2009, just prior to the drafting of the bill which included the death penalty for offenders.
Lively has rejected the claim that he supported the death penalty saying he preferred “criminalisation in the same manner of criminalisation of marijuana and speeding on the highway”.
The case was submitted in the United States by the Center for Constitutional Rights under the Alien Tort Claims Act which allows for Americans and those linked to the US to be sues in US courts for crimes allegedly committed overseas.
“He (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,” attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights Pam Spees said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, he found willing accomplices and fertile ground in Uganda.”
News of the lawsuit came as People for the American Way’s Josh Glasstetter found an apparent connection between Ugandan anti-gay pastor Martin Ssempa and Invisible Children, the organisation responsible for sparking the Kony 2012 movement on social media.
Ssempa, an advocate for the “kill the gays” bill, is reported to have assisted a student group at evangelical school Grove City College who are known to have worked with Invisible Children.
“The connection, if true, is not surprising. Alternet reported earlier this week that Invisible Children receives large sums of money from anti-gay groups linked to Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, The Fellowship Foundation (“The Family”), and Lou Engle’s The Call,” website Thinkprogress reported.
“While Kony 2012, an exposé on Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony that has been viewed nearly 80 million times on YouTube, is not explicitly anti-gay, it seems clear that Invisible Children is committed to a similar worldview as these other groups.”