Scott Lively (pictured at left), the evangelical pastor who was a central figure in the drafting of the "Kill The Gays" bill proposed in Uganda in 2009, is to stand trial in Massachusetts accused of violating international law by inciting persecution of LGBT individuals in the central African country.
The Center for Constitutional Rights filed the suit, Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively, in early 2012 in Springfield, Mass., on behalf of non-profit advocacy group Sexual Minorities of Uganda in 2012. The suit alleges Lively "through actions taken both within the United States and in Uganda has attempted to foment, and to a substantial degree has succeeding in fomenting, an atmosphere of harsh and frightening repression against LGBTI people in Uganda."
"Widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms," said U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor, who denied Lively's move for dismissal of the case on August 14, allowing the suit to proceed.
Continuing, Ponsor declared, "The history and current existence of discrimination against LGBTI people is precisely what qualifies them as a distinct targeted group eligible for protection under international law. The fact that a group continues to be vulnerable to widespread, systematic persecution in some parts of the world simply cannot shield one who commits a crime against humanity from liability."
The International Criminal Court includes several violations under "crimes against humanity," including murder, enslavement, torture, and "persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds." Lively is accused of directly collaborating with Ugandan government and religious officials in depriving LGBTI Ugandan citizens fundamental human rights based solely on their identity. Per the Alien Tort Statute, U.S. legal procedure allows foreign citizens to sue for violations of international law in U.S. federal courts.
In a statement, lead CCR attorney Pam Spees said, "We are gratified that the court recognized the persecution and the gravity of the danger faced by our clients as a result of Scott Lively's actions. Lively's single-minded campaign has worked to criminalize their very existence, strip away their fundamental rights and threaten their physical safety."
Having compared homosexuality to pedophilia, bestiality, and sadomasochism, Lively, who lives in Springfield, did not restrict himself to Africa. The founder of the Abiding Truth Ministries and director of the Redemption Gate Mission Society, Lively also toured Russia in 2007, advocating several measures that are now a part of that country's notorious anti-law statute. Author of the widely discredited Holocaust revisionist The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party (1995), Lively purports the Nazi regime was composed almost entirely of gay men whose "savagery" made the Holocaust possible.
"It is not mere coincidence that the emperors of Rome in its horrific final days were homosexual; that Adolf Hitler's inner circle were mostly homosexual; and that nearly all of the most prolific serial killers in U.S. history were homosexual. It is not mere coincidence that America's cultural decline parallels the rise of 'gay rights,'" Lively was quoted in 1996.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Lively is also directly responsible for the 2007 creation of the East Europe-based anti-gay group Watchmen on the Walls, and strongly advocated against a human rights bill in the country of Moldova in 2011. He has accused millionaire George Soros and his "agents" of lobbying for the legalization of homosexuality, and in 2012, Lively asked God to destroy SPLC.
With regard to the Uganda case, Frank Mugisha, the director of SMUG, said, "Today's ruling is a significant victory for human rights everywhere but most especially for LGBTI Ugandans who are seeking accountability from those orchestrating our persecution."
The case has since been referred to Magistrate Judge Kenneth P. Neiman for an as-yet-to-be-determined pretrial scheduling conference.