Hopes Case Is Beginning Of Effort To Hold Anti-LGBT Criminals Accountable For Crimes Against Humanity Worldwide

Burlington, Vt. – Truth Wins Out is pleased that the historic “crimes against humanity” lawsuit against anti-gay hate group leader Scott Lively will proceed, after a federal judge denied Lively’s motion to dismiss the case outright. The lawsuit, filed by the Center For Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), accuses Lively of inciting persecution against LGBT people through his advocacy work in Uganda, leading to increased violence and directly inspiring the now infamous “Kill The Gays” bill. Lively, for his part, claims that the lawsuit “boils down to nothing more than an attempt to define my Biblical views against homosexuality as a crime.”

“Activists like Scott Lively have increasingly started to confuse their religious freedom with a license to persecute LGBT people and criminalize homosexuality around the world,” according to Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “We hope that this case is the beginning of an ongoing effort to hold those who commit anti-LGBT crimes accountable for crimes against humanity. LGBT people should be safe and free from discrimination on every square inch of this planet, and no government has the right to punish and persecute gay people for who they are.”

Scott Lively participated in a 2009 conference in Uganda on exposing the “homosexual agenda,” and directly incited hatred by falsely claiming that gays were partially responsible for both the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide. The infamous “Kill The Gays” bill was introduced soon after, having been drafted in part by the Ugandan organizers of the conference. Scott Lively also admitted that he discussed the bill with Ugandan lawmakers.

“Scott Lively can hide behind claims of ‘religious freedom’ all he wants, but when religious opinions turn into institutional oppression of and violence against minority groups, we are no longer talking about the First Amendment, ” said Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst. “Spreading demonizing lies about LGBT people is not a tenet of any religion I’ve ever heard of, and it’s certainly not a feature of Christianity. We are now seeing the fruits of the work of Scott Lively and others like him in Uganda, Russia and other nations where American Fundamentalists have been active, and it’s not pretty. We look forward to this case exposing Lively’s sinister actions in Uganda for the crimes against humanity that they are.”

As their cultural cachet in free, Western societies has diminished, American fundamentalist hate groups have been increasingly active around the world. Activists like Scott Lively and coalitions like the World Congress of Families are working to demonize LGBT people wherever they find an audience friendly to their message, and LGBT people worldwide are suffering as a result. Scott Lively and his cohort have defended the deteriorating situation in Uganda, and in recent days anti-gay American leaders have spoken in support of the pogrom being carried out in Russia against LGBT people. While they always disavow violence in print, they refuse to acknowledge their role in creating the violent and oppressive climate we now see in nations like Russia and Uganda, which shows that the only thing constraining anti-gay fundamentalists in the West is the challenge of a free, educated society. In nations looking for a scapegoat for their ongoing problems, anti-gay messages from American fundamentalists help create a perfect storm of violence and oppression.

Last year, TWO’s Besen confronted Scott Lively during a lecture in Oklahoma City, in order that Lively’s lies about LGBT people not be spewed without opposition. While it was a difficult task, being surrounded by some of the most extremist, anti-gay people in the country, it was necessary. As long as American fundamentalist hate groups insist on lying about and demonizing LGBT people, at home and abroad, people must speak up to correct the record. As we now see, LGBT people’s lives quite literally depend on it.