Pastor who exported anti-gay laws to Uganda battles ‘crimes against humanity’ lawsuit

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A US-based pastor who cheerleads support for homophobic laws around the world is battling a ‘crimes against humanity’ lawsuit.

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.

Lively addressed an anti-gay conference in Uganda just before the country’s homophobic law was drafted, where he urged a fresh crackdown on gay sex. He also cheered on anti-gay legislation in Russia.

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 is facing a crimes against humanity suit from Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), who allege he has acted in violation of international law, by seeking to promote the persecution of gay people.

He is defended by Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel – the Christian law firm most famous for representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis after she refused to marry gay people.

SMUG filed a brief with the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in the case this month, with the Liberty Counsel calling for the case to be thrown out.

Their defence contends among other things that there is  “no evidence” that any of Lively’s messages to Ugandan anti-gay activists “were written in the United States”, claiming that the Massachusetts  pastor “travels extensively” and may have actually colluded with homophobic lawmakers while in international waters.

A statement from the Liberty Counsel claims: “SMUG has failed for four years to produce a shred of evidence to fit its sensational claim that Lively committed ‘crimes against humanity’ –akin to genocide and war crimes— by ‘conspiring’ to ‘persecute’ the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) population in Uganda.

“SMUG has unwittingly revealed its secret and corrupt goal to intimidate Lively into silence, along with any American pastor with a heart for African families. Liberty Counsel’s response lays bare for the court SMUG’s deception.

“SMUG deems every pro-family advocate in Uganda to be a ‘co-conspirator’ in a ‘criminal enterprise’ to ‘persecute’ the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) population of Uganda. In addition to seeking bankrupting financial penalties from Lively, SMUG is asking the federal court to prohibit Lively from, among other things, preaching at Ugandan churches and lobbying or advocating against same-sex marriage in Uganda.”

Liberty Counsel Chair Mat Staver claimed: “Even after 100 hours of depositions and 40,000 pages of documents, SMUG has no evidence whatsoever connecting Lively to any act of so-called ‘persecution’.

“SMUG has always claimed it was not trying to hold Lively liable for his speaking and writing.

“Yet the more SMUG writes, the more obvious it becomes that SMUG wants to punish Lively for his beliefs. This is clearly a vendetta against Lively for speaking about homosexuality and God’s design for the family in Uganda.”