A U.S. district Judge Michael Ponsor ruled that a lawsuit by Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) agaist anti-gay activist Scott Lively could proceed.
Lively is being sued by the Center for Consitutional Rights and SMUG, who allege that Lively has been actively conspiring with Ugandan government officials and religious leaders to deny basic human rights to LGBTI people around the world.
"Widespread, systematic persecution of LGBTI people constitutes a crime against humanity that unquestionably violates international norms," said Judge Michael Ponsor. "The history and current existence of discrimination against LGBTI people is precisely what qualifies them as a distinct targeted group eligible for protection under international law. The fact that a group continues to be vulnerable to widespread, systematic persecution in some parts of the world simply cannot shield one who commits a crime against humanity from liability."
The most notable piece of Lively's work included the introduction of the notorious "Kill the Gays" bill which he helped to create. Lively has also been active in in 50 cities in Russia where his anti-LGBT activism has resulted in harmful laws against LGBT people.
"Today’s ruling is a significant victory for human rights everywhere but most especially for LGBTI Ugandans who are seeking accountability from those orchestrating our persecution," said Frank Mugisha, the director of SMUG.
Said CCR Attorney Pam Spees, "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. Lively’s single-minded campaign has worked to criminalize their very existence, strip away their fundamental rights and threaten their physical safety."
This is only the beginning of a long legal process, however. The judge will still need to determine if the case against Lively has merit, but this is an important next step.
The case, Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Lively, was originally filed in federal court in Springfield, MA, in March 2012.
For today's ruling please visit: http://ccrjustice.org/files/SMUG_OrderDenyingDefMTD_08_13.pdf