Anti-Gay Minister to Be Tried for Crimes Against Humanity
In a landmark decision Wednesday, a federal US judge ruled that the case filed by a Ugandan LGBT advocacy group against American anti-gay evangelist Scott Lively, for his collaboration with religious and government officials in Uganda that lead to the introduction of the African nation's "Kill the Gays" bill, will be allowed to proceed.
As reported in Gay Star News, Michael Ponsor, the US District Judge in Massachusetts, said "Widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms." This marks the first ruling by a federal US judge calling the persecution of LGBT persons a crime against humanity, possibly setting a precedent for the human rights of sexual minorities will be protected under international 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, director of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), who along with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) are plaintiffs in the case against Lively.
Pam Spees, an attorney for CCR, 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."
Citng during opening arguments Lively's ten plus year collaboration with political and religious leaders in Uganda to persecute LGBT Ugandans and deny them their basic human rights, attorneys for the CCR based their case against the minister on the Alien Tort Statute, which grants "survivors of egregrious human rights abuses, wherever committed, the right to sue the perpetratgors in the United States.
We "will continue to vigorously defend Mr. Lively's constitutional rights, with confidence that he will ultimately be vindicated." Said Horation Mihet, attorney for Lively, who claims his client is innocent as the First Ammendment protects his preaching. WND reported.
Mihet further stated,"We are disappointed with the decision because we believe SMUG's claims are firmly foreclosed, not only by the First Amendment right to free speech, but also by the Supreme Court's recent decision in Kiobel, which eliminated Alien Tort Statute claims for events that allegedly occurred in foreign nations."
The case against Lively stems from the evangelist's 2009 lecture tour of Uganda, the theme of which according to its Ugandan organizer, was "the gay agenda - and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family."
A 2010 article published in , TheNew York Times, wrote about on one of Lively's speaking engagements in Uganda. "[T]housands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians," reportedly attended the conference. Lively and his colleagues "discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how 'the gay movement is an evil institution' whose goal is 'to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.'" Lively wrote days later that "someone had likened their campaign to 'a nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda.'"
In 2007, two years prior to his trip to Uganda, Lively, the founder of Abiding Truth Ministries and former state director from California for the American Family Association, toured 50 cities in Russia, where it is reputed that he publicly recommended a ban on "gay propaganda."
Lively is co-author of the 1995 universally debunked tome "The Pink Swastika," which, according to author notes, asserts that "the Nazi Party was conceived, organized and controlled throughout its short history by masculine-oriented male homosexuals who hid their sexual proclivities from the public, in part by publicly persecuting one group of their political enemies: out-of-the-closet effeminate-oriented homosexuals aligned with the German Communist Party."