A federal judge on Wednesday denied a motion to dismiss a crimes against humanity case brought against evangelical pastor Scott Lively of Massachusetts.
Lively is accused of violating international law by inciting the persecution of LGBT individuals in Uganda. The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) in 2012.
“We are gratified that the court recognized the persecution and the gravity of the danger faced by our clients as a result of Scott Lively’s actions,” CCR Attorney Pam Spees said. “Lively’s single-minded campaign has worked to criminalize their very existence, strip away their fundamental rights and threaten their physical safety.”
The lawsuit alleged that Lively aided the persecution of LGBT people in Uganda over the past decade and inspired notorious anti-LGBT legislation known as the “Kill the Gays” bill.
Lively attended an anti-gay conference entitled “Seminar on Exposing the Homosexual Agenda” in 2009 in which he accused gays and lesbians of having genocidal tendencies. His lecture lead to the introduction of the bill, the lawsuit claimed.
Ugandan organizers of the 2009 conference admitted they helped draft the bill and Lively himself admitted to meeting with lawmakers to discuss it.
Lively has denied that he conspired with government officials or religious leaders in Uganda to craft specifics of the legislation. He has said the lawsuit against him “boils down to nothing more than an attempt to define my Biblical views against homosexuality as a crime.”
“Clearly, this lawsuit is intended not only to silence me as an effective voice of opposition to the ‘gay’ agenda, it is also to intimidate everyone else who would dare to follow my example,” he wrote on his blog last year.