Despite a relatively marginal profile in the United States, Scott Lively has proven to be a serious threat to international human rights. By presenting himself as a foremost international authority on the modern LGBTI rights movement, Lively has gained access to influential audiences abroad. Most notably, he was a key U.S. instigator of the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, commonly referred to as the “Kill the Gays” bill for its application of the death penalty for people found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality.”
Lively first visited Uganda in 2002 and returned in March 2009 to present his anti-scientific theories about LGBTI people at the “Seminar on Exposing the Homosexuals’ Agenda” in Kampala, Uganda. In addition to blaming Nazi atrocities on gay men (he 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 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 said the threat to Uganda was imminent and that children 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.”
Referring to the LGBTI movement as “an evil institution” as powerful as it is sinister, Lively issued a warning to his audience: “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 then met with Ugandan Parliament members to discuss ideas for anti-LGBTI legislation. The now-infamous Anti-Homosexuality 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.”
With support from the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, the African human-rights advocacy group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) subsequently sued Lively in the United States under the Alien Tort Statute for crimes against humanity, and specifically for inciting the persecution of LGBTI people in Uganda. In June 2017, Judge Michael Ponsor of the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts affirmed that Lively, “aided and abetted a vicious and frightening campaign of repression against LGBTI persons in Uganda,” but dismissed the lawsuit brought in 2012.
Lively’s influence also extends to other regions of the world. 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. That same year, Russia passed a law that prohibits “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors,” which effectively silences and seeks to erase the LGBTI community. Lively subsequently released a letter aimed at “the Hungarian people,” encouraging them to follow the example of Russia, which he has described as “providing much-needed leadership in restoring family values.” During a 2016 visit to Kyrgyzstan, Lively claims he helped pass a constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex marriage.
For more details, see American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism.