A Ugandan gay rights group filed suit against an American evangelist, Scott Lively, in federal court in Massachusetts on Wednesday, accusing him of violating international law by inciting the persecution of homosexuals in Uganda.
The lawsuit alleges that beginning in 2002, Mr. Lively conspired with religious and political leaders in Uganda to whip up anti-gay hysteria with warnings that homosexuals would sodomize African children and corrupt their culture.
The Ugandan legislature considered a bill in 2009, proposed by one of Mr. Lively’s Ugandan contacts, that would have imposed the death sentence for homosexual behavior. That bill was at first withdrawn after an outcry from the United States and European nations that are among major aid donors to Uganda, but a revised bill was reintroduced last month.
Mr. Lively is being sued by the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda under the alien tort statute, which allows foreigners to sue in American courts in situations alleging the violation of international law. The suit claims that Mr. Lively’s actions resulted in the persecution, arrest, torture and murder of homosexuals in Uganda.
Pamela C. Spees, a lawyer for the Ugandan group, works with the Center for Constitutional Rights, a legal advocacy group based in New York City. Ms. Spees said that since homosexuals in Uganda have little support, the lawsuit “brings the fight” to those in the United States who she says fomented the anti-gay legislation in Uganda.