• Judge weighing dismissal of Uganda gay rights suit


    SPRINGFIELD (AP) - A federal judge is deciding whether to dismiss a lawsuit against a Massachusetts evangelist for what an East African gay advocacy group claims has been his long campaign of persecution against gays in Uganda.

    The judge heard arguments Monday from lawyers for Springfield pastor Scott Lively and from Sexual Minorities Uganda, the plaintiff behind last year's civil action.

    Lively's lawyer says the case is an attack on the U.S. Constitution and the right of free speech.

    The plaintiff's attorney says Lively conspired with others in Uganda to persecute gays.

    The arguments come as Uganda's Parliament could consider an anti-gay bill in February.

    While the bill would include jail for some offenses, the lawmaker who authored the original bill told The Associated Press in November that it wouldn't punish some homosexual acts with death, as the earlier legislation had proposed.

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