On March 14, 2012, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf ofSexual Minorities Uganda,a non-profit umbrella organization for LGBTI advocacy groups in Uganda, against Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively. Filed in the United States District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts, the suit alleges that Lively’s involvement in anti-gay efforts in Uganda, including his active participation in the conspiracy to strip away fundamental rights from LGBTI persons, constitutes persecution. This is the first knownAlien Tort Statute (ATS) case seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Sexual Minorities Uganda, an umbrella organization located in Kampala, Uganda, which represents the interests of its constituent member organizations in advocating for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (“LGBTI”) in Uganda, brought this case against against defendant Scott LIVELY, a U.S.-based attorney, author, and self-described world-leading expert on the “gay movement,” for the decade-long campaign he has waged, in agreement and coordination with his Ugandan counterparts, to persecute persons on the basis of their gender and/or sexual orientation and gender identity.
The case is brought under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”), 28 U.S.C. §1350, which provides federal jurisdiction for “any civil action by an alien, for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.” United States Supreme Court has affirmed the use of the ATS as a remedy for serious violations of international law norms that are widely accepted and clearly defined. Persecution, as a crime against humanity that is universally proscribed and clearly defined in international law, is such a violation. Persecution is defined in international law as the “intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity.”
"We hope that he will be held accountable for what he did in Uganda," said Mugisha, who won the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award last year. "We want to send out a clear message to him and to others." read more
"The complaint claims Lively issued a call in Uganda to fight against a "genocidal" and "paedophilic" gay movement which he "likened to the Nazis and Rwandan murderers". It seeks a judgment that Lively's actions violate international law and human rights." read more
"He long ago set out a very specific and detailed methodology for stripping away the most basic human rights protections, to silence and ultimately disappear LGBT people," Pam Spees, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, said in a statement. read more
“Can you imagine that the worst place in the world to be gay is having Gay Pride?” Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera asked a crowd of cheering gay men, lesbians, transgendered men and women, and queers somewhere in between. It was Saturday afternoon, and we were on the shores of the giant, cloudy Lake Victoria in the Ugandan city of Entebbe, where L.G.B.T. activists had decided to stage the country’s first Pride Parade."read more
May 11, 2012: Lively, represented by Liberty Counsel, filed aMotion to Stay the case pending the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell, a case also brought under the Alien Tort Statute.
June 1, 2012: Court denied Lively's Motion to Stay and ordered him to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint.
January 7, 2013: Court heard oral arguments on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.
May 7, 2013: Sexual Minorities Uganda filed a Response to Defendant's April 17 Notice regarding Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell.
August 14, 2013: The Court issued a Memorandum & Order, denying Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and referring the case for pretrial scheduling.
September 23, 2013: Court promptly denies Defendant's Motion to Amend and Certify Non-Final Order for Interlocutory Appeal.
October 9, 2013: Court promptly denies Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration.
November 6, 2013: Court held a scheduling conference to set the timeline for the pre-trial phase of the case.
November 20, 2013: Defendant filed his Answer to SMUG’s complaint.
December 5, 2013: Defendant filed a Petition requesting that the First Circuit appellate court issue a Writ of Mandamus directing the District Court to vacate its Order Denying Lively’s Motion to Dismiss. The next day, the Defendant also filed a Motion to Stay the case pending the First Circuit’s review of the writ petition.
December 10, 2013: District Court denied Defendant’s motion for a stay, allowing the discovery phase to proceed.