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Scott Lively targeted him in Uganda. Now he targets Lively in U.S.

Arch-homophobe the Rev. Scott Lively was a driving force behind the passage of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014, which incited an anti-LGBTQ panic that forced Ugandan LGBTQ rights leader John Wambere into exile. Now, back in the U.S., as Lively runs for governor in Massachusetts, Wambere is there to oppose him.

Ugandan exile John Wambere (left) has spoken out against Pastor Scott Lively (right), the gubernatorial candidate who inspired Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act.

Ugandan exile John Wambere (left) urges voters to reject Pastor Scott Lively (right), the gubernatorial candidate who inspired Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act.

This is Wambere’s letter to the editor of The Boston Globe:

He fled Uganda in wake of Lively’s anti-gay push — only to witness his rise here

As a gay Ugandan activist who found asylum here, I urge Massachusetts residents to reject the candidacy of Scott Lively for governor (“No more Gov. Nice Guy,” Yvonne Abraham, Metro, May 10).

I am a victim of Lively’s homophobic campaign in Uganda. In 2009, he came to my former country to sow hatred and tell lies, preaching that homosexuals, peace-loving citizens, had an agenda and were a danger to society.

Lively’s propaganda opened an avenue for the administration of President Yoweri Museveni to incite a witch hunt against LGBTQ Ugandans. I bear witness to the violence, persecution, and painful divisions his words created. Many have been forced to flee a country we love for our safety, leaving behind our life’s work, family, and friends.

In 2014, the Anti-Homosexuality Act, Lively’s brainchild, was signed into law (then subsequently ruled invalid). Facing threats of death or life imprisonment, I too was forced to seek asylum here in the United States.

My new home, Massachusetts, which championed marriage equality, is better than this. Lively’s place on the Republican primary ballot would set a dangerous precedent, risking a backlash against LGBTQ people. We must not lend him new authority to push his agenda of hatred around the world.

John Abdallah Wambere
Woburn, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

The writer is cofounder of the Kampala-based gay rights organization Spectrum Uganda Initiatives.