A US-based charity has sued a right-wing evangelist leader for inciting hatred against homosexuals in Uganda.
The Centre for Constitutional Rights (CRR) has filed a lawsuit against Scott Lively, head of the fundamentalist Christian Abiding Truth Ministries, on behalf of the organisation Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG).
"Lively has been the man with the plan in this enterprise," Pam Spees, a senior CCR staff attorney, said in reference to the widespread anti-gay prejudice in Uganda.
"He long ago set out a very specific and detailed methodology for stripping away the most basic human rights protections and to silence LGBT [lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual] people. Unfortunately, he found willing accomplices and fertile ground in Uganda."
Lively, author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party and Seven Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child, started lobbying against gay people in Uganda in 2002. According to the CCR, he headed a conference in 2009 with Stephen Langa, founder of the Family Life Network (FLN) .
International Business Times UK recently revealed that the FLN is the main organisation behind efforts to revive the anti-homosexuality bill in the African country.
In 2009, Langa and Lively formed the anti-gay task force, which is intended "to fight against the spread of homosexuality and lesbianism in the country". The task force organised a two-day conference for religious leaders, teachers and social workers in the capital Kampala.
"US evangelical leaders like Scott Lively have actively and intensively worked to eradicate any trace of LGBT advocacy and identity," Frank Mugisha, executive director of SMUG, told the news site Allafrica.com.
"His influence has been incredibly harmful and destructive for LGBT Ugandans fighting for their rights."
Plans hatched at the conference, which were leaked to the media, included collecting "signatures from Ugandans door-to-door to request parliament to tighten the law on homosexuality" and lobbying the government to "note gay funders and scrutinize the funding or stop the funding for the gay movement in Uganda".
When he addressed the conference, Lively said that homosexuals were a threat to children, committed child rape and "recruited" children into homosexuality.
The task force also launched the Pass the Bill Now Campaign, which entailed lobbying MPs to push the law forward.
MP David Bahati originally introduced the bill in 2009. If it is approved and becomes law, it will force doctors, teachers, lawyers and other professionals to report someone for being LGBT within 24 hours or face arrest. Before it was put before the assembly for a vote, it was dropped in 2011 after an international outcry over the brutal murder of gay activist David Kato.
Bahati, who revived the bill last month, claimed the vast majority of Ugandans are against "the evil of homosexuality". In support of his assertion, he said five million people signed a petition requesting parliament to pass the bill when it was last introduced. Uganda has a population of 33 million people.