A U.S. judge is allowing a lawsuit by a Ugandan homosexual group charging an Evangelical pastor with a “crime against humanity.” The American pastor is accused of violating international law for speaking against homosexuality and discussing legislation with Ugandan leaders.
Scott Lively, an attorney and author, runs the Holy Grounds coffee house in Massachusetts where coffee and Bibles are free and Sunday church services minister to homeless people, drug addicts and others. In 2009, he was invited to speak at a conference in Uganda where he said the goal of the homosexual movement is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) accuses Lively of inciting “persecution” through public speaking and advising Ugandan leaders who introduced legislation against homosexuality. SMUG advocates for legal and social acceptance of lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. It opposes legislation to strengthen anti-homosexuality laws.
The lawsuit describes several events in Uganda, such as a raid of SMUG’s office. Lively is not mentioned a “single time within the many pages of the complaint that describe” those events, said Liberty Counsel, the law firm representing Lively.
An event SMUG to tie to Lively is the murder of David Kato, a co-leader of the group. The suit fails to mention a homosexual prostitute confessed to killing Kato over a dispute regarding payment. He was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
If SMUG is successful, any person “petitioning in opposition to special designations for homosexuals would become an international human rights criminal,” Lively’s attorney Horatio Mihet told WND.
The lawsuit is based on the Alien Tort Statute, a federal law that allows U.S. courts to hear cases on violations of the law of nations or a U.S. treaty. The Supreme Court recently ruled the statute does not apply to conduct that occurred outside the U.S.
The lawsuit appears to be “a meritless publicity stunt designed to harass Scott Lively into inaction,” a legal expert told the Friday Fax. The right to free speech in the U.S. bars “such nonsense” as holding someone legally liable for trying to convince people against an opposing idea.
The veteran litigator notes this could come back to haunt homosexual activists. SMUG’s theory would invite lawsuits against “homosexual activists who are trying to repress their own political and cultural opponents in foreign countries.”
In his decision, Judge Michael Ponsor described Ugandan leaders and legislators as “co-conspirators” with Lively. Ponsor said some officials consider “persecution” based on sexual orientation and gender identity “constitutes a crime against humanity that violates international norms,” but it is questionable whether it violates U.S. law.
Judge Ponsor made news in June when his first published novel, a legal thriller set in Massachusetts, was released. Posner originally aspired to be a writer, but after two unsuccessful novels re-directed his writing when he was appointed a judge.