Post submitted by Saurav Jung Thapa, former Associate Director, HRC Global
A crucial summary judgment hearing was held last week in the federal case against American anti-LGBTQ exporter of hate Scott Lively. Lively, who is based in Massachusetts and heads the group Abiding Truth Ministries, is accused of crimes against humanity for his “participation in the effort aimed at revoking fundamental rights from LGBTI persons in Uganda.”
A federal court in Springfield, Massachusetts, heard arguments from lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and others who are representing Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in the case SMUG v. Lively. They challenged Lively’s motion to dismiss the case and prevent it from going to trial after three years of dispositions and discovery. This hearing was a major opportunity for the plaintiffs, as well as the Ugandan and global LGBTQ community, to lay out the substantial facts of the case in public. In the unfortunate event that the judge rules against the plaintiff, this may be the only opportunity to hear about the significant damage that Lively has caused to the LGBTQ community in Uganda.
The judge’s ruling in the case is expected in the next few months.
Lively’s earlier effort to dismiss the case in 2013 failed. In the U.S., he is largely considered a fringe extremist, but he continues to seek other opportunities to spread his message of extremism and hate around the world. He first traveled to Uganda in 2002 to warn about the “LGBTQ menace” to that country. Many Ugandan activists believe that he was one of the inspirations for the harsh Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014. Lively also takes personal credit for the passage of Russia’s harsh anti-LGBTQ “propaganda law” of 2013, which he says he proposed in 2007.
A CCR press release issued last week noted that 12 LGBTQ activists from Uganda and one from Latvia - where Lively has also been involved in anti-equality efforts - traveled to Massachusetts for this hearing. One of the activists was long time HRC partner Frank Mugisha, who was arrested in August for participation in Pride activities supported by HRC. U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice spoke about Mugisha’s inspiring work in Uganda during a recent major public address co-hosted by HRC.
Lively is one among a group of American exporters of hate who have traveled far and wide around the world preaching hatred and intolerance towards LGBTQ people (such as Steven Anderson recently in Botswana and South Africa) and instigating governments to enact anti-LGBTQ laws such as Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014.