CCR Lawyers File Briefs in Case Against Anti-Gay Extremist Scott Lively
Lawyers and legal workers at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed an important brief in Sexual Minorities Uganda’s human rights case against U.S. anti-gay extremist Scott Lively. CCR represents Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in a lawsuit filed against Scott Lively in March 2012 for his involvement in a conspiracy to deprive LGBTI Ugandans of their fundamental rights. CCR sued Scott Lively for his actions in Uganda going back to his first trip there in 2002, at which time he claims he helped start Uganda’s anti-gay movement. Since that time Lively has worked with others- who are named as co-conspirators in the lawsuit- on a strategy to move forward legislation, policies and practices that deprive LGBTI persons of their elementary human right to equal coexistence. When one group of people conspires to deprive another group of people of their fundamental rights based on their identity it is persecution – a crime against humanity – and illegal under international law. CCR is suing under a US law, the Alien Tort Statute, which makes it possible for foreign individuals and organizations to bring civil lawsuits in US courts for certain violations of international law– including persecution– against individuals, organizations or companies that have ties to the U.S.
Since filing the case, Scott Lively has claimed that SMUG and CCR’s lawsuit is an attack on his religious expression, which is protected by the First Amendment. Scott Lively’s lawyers at Liberty Counsel made this First Amendment argument the central piece of their Motion to Dismiss, which they filed in June 2012. On September 20, 2012 CCR filed a 107-page Opposition to their Motion to Dismiss which explains precisely why this lawsuit in no way infringes upon his First Amendment rights since the claims in the case are only about his illegal actions. As today’s filing states, “contrary to Defendant [Scott Lively]’s central defense, none of Plaintiff [SMUG]’s claims are predicated on any speech or writing of the Defendant, odious and ignorant as they may be. His speech is merely circumstantial evidence of the discriminatory intent and motive behind his campaign to deprive LGBTI persons of fundamental rights and thus admissible as to help prove the elements of the conspiracy to persecute.”
In fact, CCR’s filing shows that it is Scott Lively who is violating peoples’ rights to free expression by his campaign to outlaw SMUG’s and other Ugandan groups’ advocacy work on behalf of the LGBTI community: “It is [Scott Lively], through his coordinated campaign to silence, criminalize and eradicate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (“LGBTI”) community in Uganda, who violates fundamental constitutional and human rights norms, by denying to this group one of the most sublime benefits of free and equal speech – the right to change people’s minds.”
More Stories on this…
- The Filing (PDF) – Center for Constitutional Rights
- Truth Wins Out – Scott Lively Sued