Lively Is Charged With Crimes Against Humanity for His Support of Anti-Gay 'Kill the Gays' Legislation in Uganda
Mat Staver, the head of the Christian law firm Liberty Counsel, is defending international anti-LGBT preacher Scott Lively, who is charged with crimes against humanity for his part in promoting laws that criminalized homosexuality in Uganda. Staver and Lively are both heads of groups that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of active anti-gay hate groups.
The LGBT civil rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) is suing Lively in a U.S. federal court, alleging that he violated international law by promoting the "Kill the Gays" bill, which originally called for the death penalty for homosexuality.
According to Liberty Council, Lively was using his freedom of speech as an American citizen. Inciting violence is speech that is not protected by US law.
Vice detailed the situation in Uganda in May of 2015, including this terrifying video showing people in Uganda laughing about raping lesbians and killing gay men.
Staver seems to be presenting this as a free speech issue, saying, "The implications of this suit are truly alarming because SMUG is trying to punish a US citizen for constitutionally protected speech under some vague and undefined international law."
In a memorandum filed on September 1, Lively's defense claims that, "SMUG is, in fact, attempting to put Lively's religious and political ideas and beliefs on trial, and to punish Lively for expressing those ideas and beliefs in Uganda and elsewhere."
Lively also denies supporting capital punishment, and the memorandum states that, "Lively believes in nominal criminalization of homosexual conduct (along with other sexual acts outside of marriage), as has been done with speeding and individual marijuana use, not as a means to criminally punish homosexual conduct, but to provide a public policy basis to prevent the specific and limited categories of expression comprising gay pride parades, and a promotion of homosexual conduct to schoolchildren."
Liberty Counsel's defense of Lively should come as no surprise, as Staver was also Kim Davis's lawyer when the Kentucky clerk refused marriage licenses to gay couples following the Obergefell ruling. Staver's ideology seems to match up fairly well with Lively's, as he said last month that anyone who thinks Obergefell is law is "brainwashed" and criticized Orlando memorials as a "homosexual love fest." Staver has also vowed that his fight against LGBT equality "is not over, it will never be over."
The Human Rights Campaign outlines Lively's anti-LGBT efforts worldwide and Staver's homophobic positions in their report on The Export of Hate.
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