Abiding Truth Ministries founder Scott Lively sparked international outrage when he worked with anti-gay forces in Uganda to foster legislation that would impose the death penalty for homosexual activity. While the future of that bill is still up in the air, a Ugandan LGBT group is suing Lively for crimes against humanity in Massachusetts federal court.
Scheduled to begin Monday at 11am, the caseis believed to be the first use of the Alien Tort Statute—which gives American courts the right to hear human-rights cases brought by foreign citizens for conduct committed outside the US—involving sexual orientation.
The New York Times reported in March:
The lawsuit alleges that beginning in 2002, Mr. Lively conspired with religious and political leaders in Uganda to whip up anti-gay hysteria with warnings that homosexuals would sodomize African children and corrupt their culture. The Ugandan legislature considered a bill in 2009, proposed by one of Mr. Lively’s Ugandan contacts, that would have imposed the death sentence for homosexual behavior. That bill was at first withdrawn after an outcry from the United States and European nations that are among major aid donors to Uganda, but a revised bill was reintroduced last month.
Mr. Lively is being sued by the organization Sexual Minorities Uganda under the alien tort statute, which allows foreigners to sue in American courts in situations alleging the violation of international law. The suit claims that Mr. Lively’s actions resulted in the persecution, arrest, torture and murder of homosexuals in Uganda.
Lively, who is being defended by the anti-gay legal Liberty Counsel. has distanced himself from the bill’s original death-penalty clause but endorsed an allegedly revised version that imposed life imprisonment.
He’s made a real habit of stirring up virulent homophobia overseas: Lively co-authored The Pink Swastika, which posits that “homosexuals [were] the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities,” and formed the anti-gay Watchmen on the Walls in Riga, Latvia. According to Southern Poverty Law Center, the Watchmen “are known for presiding over anti-gay rallies where gays and lesbians are pelted with bags of excrement.”
Below, Lively delivers an hate-filled address at a 2009 conference in Uganda.