Federal Lawsuit Charges Evangelist With Crimes Against Humanity
Scott Lively, the anti-gay evangelical preacher who has been a constant supporter of Uganda’s efforts to pass a law imposing the death penalty for gays in that country, is on trial this week for “crimes against humanity” in a Springfield, Massachusetts federal court. Sexual Minorities in Uganda (SMUG), a gay-rights group, is the plaintiff in the landmark civil case that is likely to expose Lively’s activities in open court, before the world.
By Nathan James
Lively, whose work to “systematically strip away human rights from gays in Uganda and around the world” has been well-documented since at least 2002, is also accused of actively assisting Ugandan authorities in terrorizing and persecuting the vlocal LGBT population. SMUG says “this is the first known Alien Tort Statute (ATS) seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” The ATS facilitates lawsuits brought by non-citizens in American courts, who are victims of international crimes outside the US , such as those alleged against Lively.
When the Anti-Homosexuality Act, popularly known as the “Kill The Gays” bill, was first introduced into Parliament in 2009 by MP David Bahati, Lively and his friend, virulently anti-gay preacher Martin Ssempa, led a vigorous campaign to ensure its passage. The bill was tabled until recently, when it was brought back to the floor for a debate. Lively, the suit alleges, engaged in a “conspiracy” to “provoke and inflame” the Ugandan peiple against gays, by spewading vicious propaganda, sich as the lie that gays were out to “sodomize [Uganda's] children and corrupt [their] culture”.
SMUG is being represented in court by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which plans to spell out “specific and general evidence” of Lively’s pattern of persecution as their case-in-chief, CCR attorneys said. Speaking to GBM News, CCR director Vince Warren quoted Lively as publicly boasting that he was “the father of the anti-gay movements in Uganda”. Lively himself has written “Since the alternative to passing this bill, is to allow the continuing, rapid, foreigner-driven homosexualization of Ugandan culture, I am giving the revised version of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill my support”. The “revised” version of the “Kill The Gays” bill imposes mandatory life imprisonment for “serial homosexuals” and sexually active gays living with HIV.
Frank Mugisha, executive director of SMUG, called for justice, saying “We hope [Lively] will be held accountable for what he did in Uganda,” noting that the goal of the case was “to send a clear message to him and to others.” Legal analysts say the trial, Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively, is expected to take several weeks.