US Pastor who exported anti-gay laws escapes ‘crimes against humanity’ lawsuit
A court has thrown out a case against homophobic US pastor Scott Lively.
Massachusetts hate preacher Scott Lively is one of the world’s most notorious homophobes, and has been linked to anti-gay laws in a number of countries.
The pastor has extensive links to anti-LGBT movements across the world, particularly in deprived countries. Human rights activists allege is key to a wave of anti-LGBT laws and resistance to the repeal of sodomy laws around the world.
Lively had faced a crimes against humanity lawsuit from Ugandan LGBT activists, who allege he has acted in violation of international law, by seeking to promote the persecution of gay people.
However, the lawsuit was dismissed this week by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, which ruled that there was no jurisdiction for the case.
The judge in the case, Michael A Ponsor, accepted Lively’s insistence that there was no case to be heard as the actions did not take place on US soil.
The judge wrote: “Anyone reading this memorandum should make no mistake.
“The question before the court is not whether Defendant’s actions in aiding and abetting efforts to demonize, intimidate, and injure LGBTI people in Uganda constitute violations of international law. They do.
“The much narrower and more technical question posed by Defendant’s motion is whether the limited actions taken by Defendant on American soil in pursuit of his odious campaign are sufficient to give this court jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims. Since they are not sufficient, summary judgment is appropriate for this, and only this, reason.”
Though he dismissed the case, the judge took time to specifically condemn Lively’s work.
He wrote: “Discovery confirmed the nature of Defendant’s, on the one hand, vicious and, on the other hand, ludicrously extreme animus against LGBTI people and his determination to assist in persecuting them wherever they are, including Uganda.
“The evidence of record demonstrates that Defendant aided and abetted efforts (1) to restrict freedom of expression by members of the LBGTI community in Uganda, (2) to suppress their civil rights, and (3) to make the very existence of LGBTI people in Uganda a crime.
“The record also confirms that these efforts to intimidate and injure the LGBTI community in Uganda were, unfortunately, to some extent successful.
“This crackpot bigotry could be brushed aside as pathetic, except for the terrible harm it can cause. The record in this case demonstrates that Defendant has worked with elements in Uganda who share some of his views to try to repress freedom of expression by LGBTI people in Uganda, deprive them of the protection of the law, and render their very existence illegal.
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“He has, for example, proposed twenty-year prison sentences for gay couples in Uganda who simply lead open, law-abiding lives.”
Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda said: “This case is a win for SMUG.
“The court’s ruling recognized the dangers resulting from the hatred that Scott Lively and other extremist Christians from the U.S. have exported to my country.
“By having a court recognize that persecution of LGBTI people amounts to a crime against humanity, we have already been able to hold Lively to account and reduce his dangerous influence in Uganda.”
Lively was defended by the Liberty Counsel, the same hardline evangelical law firm that defended infamous Kentucky clerk Kim Davis when she refused to marry gay people.