American evangelical minister Scott Lively is taking credit for inspiring Russia law that bans "homosexual propaganda."
Last week, Lively proposed that Russian officials thwart potential activity of pro-gay activists by flying their own rainbow banner at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, NBC News reports. His reasoning? The global LGBT community needs to be reminded that "the rainbow belongs to God!"
The Springfield, Mass., pastor is no stranger to antigay statements and actions. He is the founder of the Abiding Truth Ministries and the former communications director of the Oregon Citizens Alliance, a major American antigay political group during the 1990s. In 2006 and 2007, Lively completed a 50-city tour of Russia, during which he preached against gay rights. This, he claims, helped promote a political climate that helped give rise several antigay laws this year, including the "propaganda" law and one to bar foreign gay couples from adopting Russian children. On September 3, Lively praised Russian president Vladimir Putin as being "an unlikely hero of family values."
In an unprecedented lawsuit, Lively was charged in 2012 by the Center for Constitutional Rights with persecuting LGBT people in Uganda, a "crime against humanity," according to Out. Lively's influence on the antigay rhetoric in Uganda contributed to the near-approval of a bill that would have allowed homosexuality to be punishable by death. Last month a federal judge allowed this suit to proceed to court.