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Judge allows landmark case against anti-gay religious leader to proceed

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — In a first-of-its kind case brought by a Ugandan LGBTI advocacy organization against a prominent U.S. anti-gay extremist, a federal judge on Wednesday ruled that persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a crime against humanity and that the fundamental human rights of LGBTI people are protected under international law.

The ruling means that the case brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), a Uganda-based coalition of LGBTI rights and advocacy groups, can move forward over defendant Scott Lively’s request to dismiss the lawsuit.

Scott Lively

“Widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms,” said U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor.

“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,” Ponsor rule.

The lawsuit alleges that Lively’s actions over the past decade, in collaboration with key Ugandan government officials and religious leaders, are responsible for depriving LGBTI Ugandans of their fundamental human rights based solely on their identity, which is the definition of persecution under international law and is deemed a crime against humanity.

This effort resulted in, most notably, the introduction of the notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill — widely know at the “Kill the Gays” bill — which Lively allegedly helped engineer.

Lively is also alleged to have been active in countries like Russia where a new law criminalizing gay rights advocacy was recently passed. In 2007, Lively toured 50 cities in Russia, where he reportedly recommended many of the measures that are now law.

“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,” said Frank Mugisha, the director of SMUG.

“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,” said Pam Spees, and attorney for CCR. “Lively’s single-minded campaign has worked to criminalize their very existence, strip away their fundamental rights and threaten their physical safety.”

U.S. law allows foreign citizens to sue for violations of international law in U.S. federal courts under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).

The case, Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively, was originally filed in federal court in Springfield, Mass., in March 2012.

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20 more reader comments:

  1. haha karma

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 12:21am
  2. Bite him hard in the ass…HAHAHA

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 12:28am
  3. We need more lawsuits like this.!

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 12:29am
  4. Couldn´t happen to a more deserving fellow! His history of discrimination, from his days in Oregon as head of the OCA, to his horrific involvement in targeting Ugandans with his teachings of hate, qualifies him as a monster which needs to be stopped.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 12:36am
  5. It is about time someone is brought to court for their ignorant preaching. I think it time many more are accused and tried for what they say about any minority group weather it is race, sex, or sexual orientation based. This is my favorite FDR quote: We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.”

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 12:42am
  6. Good!!! I think we should Persecute him simply because he has a beard!!! LOL…unbelievable!!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 12:54am
  7. As a chaplain and minister I have watched him and his ilk revert to colonization evangelization… his funders are dangerous

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 1:03am
  8. hope the son of a bitch goes to jail for the rest of his life

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 1:48am
  9. YES !

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 4:35am
  10. YES

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:16am
  11. The empire strikes back! Great news, I hope the law suit succeeds.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 8:06am
  12. Scott Lively is a criminal against humanity. Get the old crook in jail.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 8:35am
  13. What you sow,so shall you reap

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 12:00pm
  14. Send him to Gen Pop and he will become the prison Bitch of all the big, hairy, sweaty men who will take care of his fat and ugly ass.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 4:37pm
  15. I hope Putin is watching….

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 4:51pm
  16. ^ doubt it id say putin is too busy hiding in his closet

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 4:58pm
  17. Awesome! Scott lively´s repressive message can´t go unchallenged.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 5:09pm
  18. I hope Karma bites Scott in the ass!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 5:10pm
  19. Judge Michael Ponsor is a hero!

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 5:45pm
  20. I hope he gets hanged for what he has done.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:53pm