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Judge Clears Path for Groundbreaking Lawsuit against Scott Lively

By Josh Glasstetter on August 16, 2013 - 3:30 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Extremist Propaganda
Scott Lively, one of the most virulent anti-gay activists on the scene today

U.S. District Judge Michael Ponser cleared the path on Wednesday for a groundbreaking lawsuit to proceed against Scott Lively. Lively, president of the virulently anti-gay Abiding Truth Ministries, is being sued by the LGBT rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMU) for his pivotal role in promoting the persecution of LGBT Ugandans.

SMU alleged in its complaint that Lively and his allies “devised and carried out a program of persecution” and “strategies to dehumanize, demonize, silence, and further criminalize” LGBT Ugandans. They are seeking damages, a finding that Lively violated international law and an injunction against future efforts to persecute their organization and community.

Lively is one of the most virulent anti-gay activists on the scene today. He authored the infamous revisionist history The Pink Swastika, which claims that homosexuality was at the root of the Nazi Party and Holocaust. He makes similar claims about the Rwandan genocide. Judge Ponser described (pdf) these arguments as “bordering on ludicrous” in his Wednesday ruling.

Lively’s “ludicrous” arguments have had very real — and incredibly destructive — consequences for LGBT Ugandans, and that’s the basis of the lawsuit. SMU is suing, with assistance from the Center for Constitutional Rights, under the Alien Torts Statute, which allows foreign nationals to sue in American courts for violations of international law.

Lively sought to have the case dismissed by arguing (pdf), among other things, that “international norms do not bar persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity with sufficient clarity and historical lineage” for such persecution to be covered by the Alien Torts Statute. He also claimed by way of a recent Supreme Court ruling that that statute could not pertain to his activities outside the U.S.

Judge Ponser dismissed (pdf) these objections, finding that Lively carried out the alleged activities in both the U.S. and Uganda. He also found that the “widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms.”

That is exactly what Lively sought to carry out beginning in 2002 and running through 2009. He based his efforts on his book, Redeeming the Rainbow, in which Posner said he “advocates criminalizing advocacy on behalf of LGBTI people and attributing acts of sexual violence against children to LGBTI individuals’ purported obsession with pedophilia.” He consistently stoked fears among Ugandan parents that gays and lesbians were actively seeking to sexually abuse and “recruit” their children.

The efforts by Lively and his allies to deny basic human rights to LGBT Ugandans culminated with the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in April 2009 in the Ugandan Parliament. The legislation, better known as the “kill the gays” bill, called for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” (that is, a person who has engaged repeatedly in sex with a member of the same sex).

Sadly, Lively’s pernicious influence can be seen far beyond Uganda. Russia passed a law in June that bans so-called “gay propaganda” directed at minors. The law imposes fines and even jail time for publishing material promoting equal rights for gays and lesbians if it is seen by minors. It also imposes fines on gay pride rallies.

Back in 2007, Lively went on a 50-city speaking tour to lay the groundwork, describing it like this: “The purpose of my visit was to bring a warning about the homosexual political movement which has done much damage to my country and which has now taken root in Russia. This is a very fast-growing social cancer that will destroy the family foundations of your society if you do not take immediate, effective action to stop it.”

He explicitly called on the Russian government to enact legislation similar to what was passed this June, urging it, in his words, to “criminalize the public advocacy of homosexuality. My philosophy is to leave homosexuals alone if they keep their lifestyle private, and not to force them into therapy if they don’t want it. However, homosexuality is destructive to individuals and to society and it should never publicly promoted. The easiest way to discourage ‘gay pride’ parades and other homosexual advocacy is to make such activity illegal in the interest of public health and morality.”

Lively has racked up a number of victories in his effort to demonize and persecute LGBT people around the world. That’s why Judge Ponser’s ruling on Wednesday is so encouraging. Lively, for the first time, is facing serious consequences for the lives he’s ruined in Uganda. And if SMU succeeds, one can imagine similar suits from Russia and elsewhere. Already, a related court battle over the continued criminalization of gay sex, one that could have repercussions in other Caribbean countries, is taking place in Belize. The days of American extremists like Lively exporting their bigotry abroad could soon come to an end.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “You USA colonialsts do not rule the earth–if Venezuela Russia Uganda Nigeria Hungary etc want to pass laws to help the people of their nation”

    Russia does not pass laws to help the people of their nation, only to help a tiny minority of rich people.

  • Reynardine

    The Potëmkin sombreros are back.

    No, the right to commit persecution and genocide is *not* a strike against colonialism, and you yourselves are nothing but ugly little puppets dancing on the strings of Western religious imperialists.

  • Aron

    ‘Edouardo:’ Uganda likely would not have passed the law were it not for the interference of westerners. So shut your damned fool mouth. The adults are trying to have a discussion.

    And Lesjodal nice try. But your idiotic rambling won’t win any supporters here.

  • lejosdel usa 6

    You USA colonialsts do not rule the earth–if Venezuela Russia Uganda Nigeria Hungary etc want to pass laws to help the people of their nations–you USA imperialists have no right to interfere–the late Presidente Chavez was correct– when he stated the new colonialsts will come for our nations children & rights–we of the free nations of the earth will always oppose the colonailsts who strive to rule nations–you are the same people who terrorize nations with bombs & invasion –who destroyed millions of lives in your slave ships of doom–you are not welcome in the free nations–USA– stay away–believe in Gods Laws & keep our nations free from imperialisms arrrrriba libertad por siempre

  • Eduardo Garcia

    The controversy over laws banning the promotion of homosexuality is an invented problem focused on by Western media. Critics need to calm down. When will Westerners stop trying to make everyone in the world just like them? Get a life.

  • concernedcitizen

    Lively should really understand just how destructive racism and bigotry is and has been to our society for decades.

    Especially these new groups that have sprung up on the white supremacists scene, they are a bad advertisement for civil and intelligent white Americans.

    And these so called religious fantasists with their idiot rhetoric and stupid alleged “interpretations” of the Bible that leave no doubt in my mind that someone was hitting the cider when they made such delusional interpretations to begin with.

    Lively is the one that should shut up and stay indoors and keep it to himself.

    Good for Uganda.

  • Sam Molloy

    I know it is overeas, but there is a chilling account of at least one murder and several acts of torture of young, (15-17) gullible gay males in Russia by skinhead / neo nazis. It can be found on Daily Grind Gay News and was a reprint. A group called Spectrum Human Rights was instrumental in exposing this. There are very disturbing still pictures and videos. The nazi group’s name is “Occupy Gerontilya” and they grab theitr victims by posing as older gay men looking for dates on the internet.

  • Critical Dragon1177

    Josh Glasstetter,

    I’d love to see the look on Lively’s face, if and when he loses.

  • Matthew Bright

    The man should be extradited to the Hague, but I doubt that will happen. But it should. It should, because he’s guilty of the same sort of crime those people who have been prosecuted, for going on the radio and whipping up genocide in Rwanda.

    Maybe he didn’t get as many people killed, as happened in Rwanda, but even one is enough to make him guilty. And he’s definitely helped, like a miserable little Julius Streicher, to deliberately whip up mobs, who did kill people.

  • Sam Molloy


  • David Cary Hart

    When it comes to Mr. Lively I am offended as a Jew and I am offended as a gay man. At the core of Lively’s campaign is the notion that homosexuality is a learned behavior and that children won’t become gay if they are not exposed to gay. It’s the old “homosexuals recruit children” drivel.

    If Lively is really a student of the Third Reich (as he claims) then he should know that the 1935 Nuremberg Laws were based on racial pseudo-science. The anti-gay laws that he has been responsible for are based on a notion of sexuality that has absolutely no scientific basis.

    Both sets of laws made a minority group officially second class citizens.

    BTW, gay activists in Russia are being charged with “extremist activity” which, apparently, is a rather serious crime.

  • Reynardine

    A propos of what I was saying about William Pierce in the previous item…