Mixed news out of Uganda

The president of Uganda Yoweri Museveni has decided not to sign a controversial bill that the parliament passed that called for life imprisonment for gays. There had been worldwide protests against the bill (earlier versions of it had called for the death penalty for homosexual acts) and although he claimed that this had not influenced him, he had warned legislators of serious damage to the country’s international relations if the law passed.

Unfortunately this good news is likely to be short lived. The parliament can vote to override his veto with a two-thirds majority and it seems likely that they have the votes.

Museveni’s action is not because he has progressive views towards gays. He accompanied his refusal by serious attacks on gays, characterizing then as sick and abnormal and claiming that men become gay so as to make money and women become lesbians because of sexual frustration.

Museveni is described as a devout evangelical Christian and the anti-gay movement in that country has been strongly influenced by American evangelical Christians, with the rise in anti-gay hatred corresponding to a rise in evangelical Christianity there. One of those Americans is Scott Lively and he is being sued in a US court for advocating human rights violations.

During opening arguments in January, the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights said Lively’s decade-long collaboration with political and religious leaders in Uganda deprived the nation’s LGBT people of basic human rights and should therefore be punishable under the Alien Tort Statute, which gives “survivors of egregious human rights abuses, wherever committed, the right to sue the perpetrators in the United States,” according to the Center for Justice and Accountability.

Although federal judge Michael Ponsor initially expressed doubt that Lively’s actions constituted international human rights violations, statements the judge made in court Wednesday [August 14, 2013] seemed to indicate a shift in tone.

“Widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms,” said Ponsor, according to a press release from the Center for Constitutional Rights. “The history and current existence of discrimination against LGBTI people is precisely what qualifies them as a distinct targeted group eligible for protection under international law. The fact that a group continues to be vulnerable to widespread, systematic persecution in some parts of the world simply cannot shield one who commits a crime against humanity from liability.”

The center notes that Lively has a long history of traveling to international locales to peddle his antigay propaganda. In 2007, Lively toured 50 cities in Russia, proposing some of the strict antigay laws that were recently signed by president Vladimir Putin.

I had not heard about Lively before but he seems to be a really nasty piece of work. These American evangelicals seem to be increasing their hateful work abroad as they face defeat at home. (A new poll finds that even in Utah, considered one of the most conservative states in America, opinion is evenly split on legalizing same-sex marriage.)

They are a menace to the planet.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    I had not heard about Lively before …

    Search for his name on this obscure blog called “Dispatches from the Culture Wars (nobody’s heard of it, but some of kool kids hang there, when there’s nothing on tv), whenever you’re in need of blood pressure elevation.

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