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Court dismisses suit against Massachusetts Evangelical leader for ‘crimes against humanity’ in Uganda

June 07, 2017

An Evangelical leader in Massachusetts has won a dismissal of a lawsuit that charged him with committing “crimes against humanity” by encouraging passage of legislation restricting homosexuality in Uganda.

Scott Lively had been sued by a group called Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), who brought the case under a 1789 law, the Alien Tort Statute, that allows foreigners to sue US citizens in American courts for actions “committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.”

Judge Michael Ponsor, who had allowed the suit, finally ruled that Lively could not be tried under that law for actions that he took in another country—in this case Uganda. After five years, the judge ruled that the court did not have proper standing for the case.

However, Judge Ponsor denounced Lively in his 25-page decision, saying that the Evangelical activist engaged in “crackpot bigotry” and had promoted a “vicious and frightening campaign of repression against LGBTI people in Uganda.” Lively’s lawyers denied that accusation, saying that he had “urged treatment of LGBT people with respect and dignity, and the liberalization of Uganda’s laws against homosexuality, even as he spoke in favor of biblical sexual morality and against the LGBT political agenda.”


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