Declaration of Ilan H. Meyer, in the case of Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively

By Ilan H. Meyer
May 2016

Ilan Meyer, Williams Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy, has submitted an expert report to a United Stated Federal Court in the case of Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively. In that case, a group of Ugandans have brought a lawsuit against evangelist Scott Lively for his role in conspiring with the Ugandan government to violate the human rights of Ugandans. The Center for Constitutional Rights is representing the Ugandans in that lawsuit. Information about the case can be found here:

Dr. Meyer’s testimony shows that the social environment brought about by the Anti-Homosexuality Bill has led to the erection of barriers to healthcare for LGBT people. In addition, the inhospitable environment in Uganda has resulted in a number of stressors on LGBT people that constitute a process called minority stress. This well-documented dynamic can cause a host of mental and physical problems, a reduced sense of well-being, an increase in suicides, and in increase in unhealthy behaviors. Dr. Meyer is one of the foremost experts in the world on the effects of social stress related to prejudice and discrimination on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations.

Click here for the full statement.

On June 5, 2017, Judge Ponsor issued a ruling granting the defendant’s motion for summary judgement based on a lack of jurisdiction according to a recent Supreme Court opinion interpreting the Alien Tort Statute.  However,  Judge Ponsor explained, in some detail, that the evidence in the case demonstrated that the defendant had engaged in activities that harmed LGBT people in Uganda.  In the words of the Court,  “[a]nyone reading this memorandum should make no mistake. The question before the court is not whether Defendant’s actions in aiding and abetting efforts to demonize, intimidate, and injure LGBTI people in Uganda constitute violations of international law. They do.”

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