SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A nonprofit legal organization has filed a motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit against a controversial Springfield pastor, who is being accused of crimes against humanity by an African human rights group.
Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) filed the lawsuit against Scott Lively back in 2012. They allege that Lively’s three visits to Uganda helped lead to a controversial law criminalizing homosexuality, and even violence against members of the LGBT community in that country- including SMUG founder David Kato.
Now, the Liberty Counsel has come to Lively’s defense, filing their motion Tuesday. The 176-page motion questions whether SMUG has any evidence of a conspiracy between Lively and people in Uganda who acted violently.
“The singular objective to SMUG’s titanic mission was to find in the murky and treacherous waters of ‘international law’ some- indeed any- connection between Defendant Scott Lively and the fourteen incidents of ‘persecution’ allegedly perpetrated in Uganda, by and against Ugandans whom Lively has never met,” the motion reads.
Further, they argue that U.S. courts do not have jurisdiction over things that happen in Uganda, and that even if they did, Lively’s speech is protected under the First Amendment.
Lively has lived in Springfield since 2008, when he became a “full-time missionary pastor” in the inner city. He has made many international trips, and appeared on numerous programs voicing opposition to same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, and the repeal of anti-sodomy laws. For his part, he says that he shuns violence against gay people, but does believe in making that sexual acts outside of opposite-sex marriage, “including adultery, fornication, and homosexual conduct” misdemeanor offenses.
Lively is the author of the book “The Pink Swastika,” which suggests that gays were behind the rise of Nazi Germany.
He ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2014, coming in fourth in a five-candidate field and receiving just short of 1% of the vote.
The Liberty Counsel provides legal defense for conservative and Christian groups. It has notably defended abortion opponents, and local governments that have posted public religious displays. Recently, the group defended Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses following the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. It is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.