Tomorrow Liberty Counsel will present oral arguments in a lawsuit filed by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) against Pastor Scott Lively, in which SMUG seeks to silence and impose significant financial penalties against Lively for speech about homosexuality in Uganda. The hearing concerns Lively's request for summary judgment to put an end to SMUG's egregious assault on Lively's right to speak the truth. The lawsuit against Pastor Lively is being bankrolled by George Soros.
The lawsuit is based upon the Alien Tort Statute, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that this law cannot be used to allege violation of international or foreign law against U.S. citizens. In the suit, SMUG alleges that Lively committed "crimes against humanity" in violation of "international law"—akin to genocide and war crimes—by simply sharing his biblical views on homosexuality during three visits to Uganda in 2002 and 2009. The suit makes the sensational claim that Lively's visits were part of a "conspiracy" to "persecute" the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) population of Uganda.
Four years, 100 hours of depositions and 40,000 pages of documents later, SMUG failed to produce a shred of evidence of any conspiracy or persecution by Lively. The evidence shows that, in a country where homosexuality has been illegal for decades, Lively urged treatment of LGBTI people with respect and dignity, and he encouraged the liberalization of Uganda's laws against homosexuality, even as he spoke in favor of biblical sexual morality and against the LGBTI political agenda.
"This ridiculous case has never had any merit," said Mat Staver, founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, "but we have had to spend four years and countless hours defending an innocent pastor against a lawsuit designed only to intimidate. The suit is an attempt to silence Pastor Scott Lively because of his speech about homosexuality and pornography. However, the implications of this suit are frightening because SMUG is trying to punish a U.S. citizen for constitutionally protected speech under some vague and undefined international law," said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.
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