FACT CHECK:   Is a gay man suing Bible publishers for $70 million because scripture is offensive to homosexuals?

Claim:   A gay man is suing Bible publishers for $70 million because scripture is offensive to homosexuals.

  OUTDATED

Example:   [Collected via Twitter, July 2015]

Origins:   On 9 July 2015, the disreputable web site Truth Uncensored published an article titled “Gay Man Files $70M Lawsuit Against Bible Publishers Over ‘Homosexual’ Verses” which suggested that President Obama and the U.S. Supreme Court acted in a manner to inspire “suits like this” that are now “occurring all over the country” — citing as an example the case of a (presumably newly emboldened gay man) who had just filed a lawsuit against publishers of the Bible:

Barack Obama and the Supreme Court are to blame for suits like this that are occurring all over the country.

A gay man has filed a $70 million lawsuit against Bible publishers Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, claiming that their version of the Bible that refers to homosexuality as a sin violates his constitutional rights and has caused him great emotional distress.

Daily Headlines reported that Bradley LaShawn Fowler, an ex-con turned author, filed the federal suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on Monday, the same day a judge refused to appoint him a lawyer for his suit against Thomas Nelson, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

Truth Uncensored cited Daily Headlines as a source for their report, linking to an article that made similar assertions:

A homosexual man has filed a $70 million lawsuit against Bible publishers Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, alleging that their version of the Bible that refers to homosexuality as a sin violates his constitutional rights and has caused him emotional distress.

Bradley LaShawn Fowler, an ex-con turned author, filed the federal suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on Monday, the same day a judge refused to appoint him a lawyer for his suit against Thomas Nelson, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

That article linked back to a Christian Post piece titled “Gay Man Files $70M Suit Against Bible Publishers Over ‘Homosexual’ Verses.” However, the date of the article (displayed directly under the title) was 10 July 2008. As such, not only did it describe events that occurred seven years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling purportedly to blame for it, it also occurred before President Obama was elected to the White House (much less inaugurated and thereby able to direct national policy).

At some point, Truth Uncensored appended the following message to the bottom of the otherwise intact article:

UPDATE: Please excuse the inaccurate publishing of this article. It appears this case is from 2008.

A number of web sites disregarded the correction and aggregated the claim, which caused offense among social media users.

The original case (Fowler v. Zondervan Publishing House Corporation), brought by Bradley LaShawn Fowler, has long since been dismissed.

Last updated:   11 July 2015

Originally published:    10 July 2015