On Feb. 24, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed that country’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. The law, according to executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights Vincent Warren, instantly outlaws the ability of LGBTI people to advocate for their rights. Warren says in a column he wrote for the Huffington Post that “such a fundamental denial of rights to an entire class of people is illegal under international law as well as the Ugandan constitution.“
For that reason the CCR is continuing to pursue the anti-gay minister Scott Lively for the role he played in getting the legislation passed. According to their own website the CCR filed a federal lawsuit against Lively in the United States District Court of Massachusetts in March of 2012. The suit alleges that Lively’s action in anti-gay efforts in Uganda amounted to a conspiracy to strip away rights of LGBTI persons and constitutes persecution.
The suit was filed under the Alien Tort Statute that allows U.S. courts to hold individuals accountable for committing “gross human rights violations” according to a story on the website Pink News.
Lively is a resident of Springfield, Mass., and the founder of Abiding Truth Ministries. Late last year he announced his bid for governor of Massachusetts. He also co-authored a book titled “The Pink Swastika” which says in its introduction “homosexuals [are] the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities.” Lively has denied all allegations in the lawsuit, including that he encouraged government-backed acts of violence against gays as a result of his rhetoric.
He continues to contend that his actions are protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. He has dismissed the lawsuit as frivolous and says he doesn’t think it will hurt his chances as a gubernatorial candidate.
"If anything, I think it will help me when people learn how ridiculous the lawsuit is," he was quoted as saying in the Massachusetts paper The Republican.
Lively’s trial is still pending, though. In January, a federal judge set deadlines to file final motions and also denied Lively’s motion to dismiss the case. The next pretrial hearing is scheduled for May 6, 2015.