Despite a relatively marginal profile in the United States, Scott Lively has proven to be a serious threat to international human rights. He was a key U.S. instigator of the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, deploying what he described as his “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda” in that country.
Lively is now based in Springfield, MA, but his anti-LGBTQ activism began at the Oregon Citizens Alliance, which campaigned in 1992 for an unsuccessful constitutional amendment that characterized homosexual relationships as “abnormal, wrong, harmful and perverse.” In 1995, Lively co-authored The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, which claims that gay men founded the Nazi Party and describes homosexuals as violent, predatory, and hostile to all moral norms.
Lively had visited Uganda in 2002 and returned in March 2009 to present his anti-scientific theories about LGBTQ people at the “Seminar on Exposing the Homosexuals’ Agenda” in Kampala, Uganda (see PRA’s video of that conference). In addition to blaming Nazi atrocities on gay men, Lively told his audience that he’d discovered “a dark and powerful presence in other historical periods: the Spanish Inquisition, the French ‘Reign of Terror,’ the era of South African apartheid, and the two centuries of American slavery.” He also suggested the Rwandan genocide “probably involved these guys.”
Lively presented himself as a foremost international authority on the modern gay movement, which he called “an evil institution” as powerful as it is sinister: “They have taken over the United Nations, the United States government, and the European Union. Nobody has been able to stop them so far. I’m hoping Uganda can.”
Lively said the threat to Uganda was imminent and that the targets were the most vulnerable, telling his audience that wealthy Europeans were flooding the country to lure young boys into homosexuality. “They want to satisfy their sexual desires,” he said. “Often these are people that are molested themselves and they’re turning it around. And they’re looking for other people to be able to prey upon.”
Lively then met with Ugandan Parliament members to discuss ideas for anti-LGBTI legislation. The now-infamous Anti-Homosexuality (“Kill the Gays”) Bill was drafted in April 2009 and was introduced in the legislature later that year. Lively reviewed it and hailed it as “a step in the right direction.” Following the passage of a revised version of the law in 2013, Lively said, “The gay movement has really brought this on themselves. These African countries have only been concerned about passing these laws after the global homosexual movement started pushing their agenda in these very morally conservative countries.”
The African human-rights advocacy group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has sued Lively in the United States under the Alien Tort Statute for crimes against humanity, and specifically for inciting the persecution of LGBTQ people in Uganda. SMUG is represented by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights.
Though Lively’s firebrand campaign style has limited influence in his home state of Massachusetts, he has sometimes gained access to influential audiences abroad. In 2006 and 2007, he made a 50-city tour through Russia and Eastern Europe, during which he published a “Letter to the Russian People” urging authorities to “criminalize the public advocacy of homosexuality,” and he visited Russia again in 2013. Following Russia’s recent passage of a law that prohibits “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations around minors,” he released a letter aimed at “the Hungarian people.” It encouraged them to follow the example of Russia, which he has described as “providing much-needed leadership in restoring family values.”
For more details, see American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism.