Religious influences in the US are being blamed for the new anti-gay law in Uganda, one of the most draconic in the world.
The Pink Triangle Trust, a British LGBT humanist group, has condemned evangelists like Scott Lively for his alleged work in influencing the law.
President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill into law yesterday (24 February), which punishes homosexuality with up to life in prison.
Lively, currently on trial for ‘crimes against humanity’, is being sued by Ugandan gay rights activists for his alleged part in the discrimination and oppression of the LGBT community in the East African country.
He has said the bill is ‘too harsh’ and says he would prefer it if Uganda enacted Russia-style gay propaganda laws instead.
‘Much has been made of the influence of American Evangelical Christians in bringing about this legislation,’ said the PTT Secretary George Broadhead.
‘Top religious leaders from across the country asked Parliament to speed-up the process of enacting it to prevent what they called “an attack on the Bible and the institution of marriage.’
The bill, which was first proposed in 2009, faced a large amount of delay into becoming law.
Damaging religious influences such as the Uganda Joint Christian Council, which includes Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox bishops, repeatedly called for the legislation and kept it alive in the public sphere.
It was passed in December 2013.
Anglican Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali expressed his gratitude, saying: ‘I want for the world to understand what we are saying. Can you imagine your son brings another man at home for introduction?’
Pepe Julian Onziema, a gay rights activist in Uganda, told Gay Star News: ‘Those who are on the extreme anti-gay side, they are going to say good riddance if a homosexual is dead.’
Lively has denied taking credit for the Ugandan anti-gay law, recently saying it is too ‘harsh’.
Speaking to the Associated Press, he said: ‘I would rather the Ugandans had followed the Russian anti-propaganda model which reflects my philosophy of preventing the mainstreaming of homosexuality with the minimum limitation on personal liberties for those who choose to live discretely outside the mainstream.’
Despite being one of the most homophobic preachers, Lively denies the accusations that he encouraged government-backed acts of violence against gays, and has said that his First Amendment rights protect free speech.
He has announced a run for governor and has previously said he does not believe the lawsuit will hurt his chances as a candidate.
No trial date has been set yet and the next pre-trial hearing is going to be on 6 May 2015.