BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
filed a US federal lawsuit March 14 against Abiding Truth Ministries president
Scott Lively, alleging he has played a key role in persecuting the African
country's queer community, including evidence he was involved in preparing
the way for the infamous "Kill the gays" bill that is now back in
Uganda's parliament, Gay Star News reports.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), based in New
York, filed the suit on behalf of SMUG.
"US evangelical leaders like Scott Lively have
actively and intensively worked to eradicate any trace of LGBT advocacy and
identity," SMUG executive director Frank Mugisha alleges in Gay Star News.
"Particularly damaging has been his claim that children are at risk
because of our existence.
"His influence has been incredibly harmful and
destructive for LGBT Ugandans fighting for their rights. We have to stop people like Scott
Lively from helping to codify and give legal cover to hatred."
In a Huffington Post interview in January, Mugisha
himself said he fears for his life and prefers to have company when he goes
out, after being targeted with threatening emails, phone calls and other
According to Gay Star News, in 2009 — the year the "Kill
the gays" bill was tabled by Ugandan MP David Bahati — Lively and other American
evangelical leaders were part of a conference held to "expose the 'gay
movement' as an 'evil institution' and a danger to children."
"He likened the effects of his actions to a 'nuclear
bomb' in Uganda and stated that he hopes it is replicated elsewhere," Gay
Star News reports.
Gay Jamaican activist Maurice Tomlinson recently spoke to
Xtra about the pervasiveness of American-evangelical-style churches on the island,
linking them to the rabid homophobia queer Jamaicans have faced for decades.
Uganda's "Kill the gays" bill is not expected
to come up for debate in parliament for many months yet, as it must make its way
through a series of procedural hoops.
Meanwhile, it appears some modicum of sense prevails in US
Seems Tennessee's GOP Governor Bill Haslam is not keen to
support what is being dubbed the "Don't say gay" bill that would have
muzzled teachers' ability to discuss gay issues, banning "any teaching
about homosexuality apart from 'natural human reproduction' before eighth
grade, but loosening restrictions on discussions about heterosexuality,
according to The Tennessean.
Haslam intervened, saying the measure, Bill 229, is not
particularly helpful, is not needed right now (but maybe in the future?), and is an
unnecessary distraction that could lead to more problems than it solves.
With that, the backers of the bill, which made it through
the Senate last year, pulled back — sort of. Bill 229's original sponsor,
Republican Bill Dunn, now says it's come to light that there really isn't any
sex education in K-8 classes.
Perhaps he and the bill's main sponsor, Republican Joey
Hensley, were too busy to check, what with falling over themselves trying to
keep the already ubiquitous words "gay" and "homosexual" from
the ears of kids, who — Twitter flash — have undoubtedly heard them already;
know someone who is gay; are trying to, or will soon, begin to navigate their
own attractions and sexuality; or have used the hackneyed putdown "That's so
gay" umpteen times.
Unless, like Dunn and Hensley, it seems, they've been on a
steady diet of Leave It to Beaver and Father Knows Best.
The two and their supporters should have the folks at the
St Petersburg Duma on speed dial, seeing as they have succeeded in passing a measure
that prevents "propaganda of homosexuality to minors."
At this juncture, Bill 229 is just delayed, not dead by
any means — not until it is withdrawn outright.
School counsellors say the bill, if passed, could proscribe their ability to answer students' questions about sexual orientation and hamper efforts to put anti-homophobia policy in place.