LGBT activists in Uganda have long accused conservative US Christian groups of attempting to influence anti-gay legislation in the country, especially its most recent "Kill the Gays" bill. Now one of America's most prominent evangelical pastors, Scott Lively, is standing trial because his flagrant bigotry might actually fall foul of US law.
Lively is a pastor, attorney and author who is also president of Abiding Truth Ministries, an anti-gay ministry that wants homosexuality criminalised. The 56-year-old Massachusetts native has a globetrotting track record of crusading against gay rights. On his world tour of being a shitty human being, Lively also travelled to 50 cities in Russia, where he described Vladimir Putin's ban on "gay propaganda" as "one of the proudest achievements of my career".
But Lively has been particularly active in Uganda, which he first visited in 2002. Since then, he has joined forces with political and religious figureheads in the country to persecute LGBT people, which includes giving presentations to members of Uganda's parliament and cabinet explaining the so-called "gay agenda" to prey on the country's children.
He is now charged with attempting to influence the law of a foreign country – more specifically, the anti-gay law in Uganda which made homosexuality punishable with a life sentence. Human rights groups Sexual Minorities Uganda and the Centre for Constitutional Rights brought the lawsuit against Lively in federal court, hoping to bring him to justice for peddling his particular brand of discrimination in the east African country.
Judges denied his appeal to have the case thrown out, saying: "His right to extraordinary relief is not clear and indisputable. The petition is denied." This means that Scott Lively will have to stand trial.
Fortunately, the anti-gay law in Uganda since been revoked, but Uganda remains a scary place for gay people. In November, a government minister told the BBC that even stricter legislation was in the works.