|Springfield, MA – Today, Liberty Counsel will represent Rev. Scott Lively, an evangelical pastor who was sued by the foreign group called Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG). The suit heard by the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts, alleges that Rev. Lively committed “crimes against humanity” in violation of “international law,” simply by sharing his Biblical views on homosexuality during a 2009 visit to Uganda. Representing Rev. Lively today is Senior Litigation Counsel Harry Mihet and General Counsel Steve Crampton.
The suit is a direct attempt to silence Rev. Lively and intimidate other pastors against teaching the Biblical position on homosexuality. Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said, “This lawsuit against Rev. Scott Lively is a gross attempt to use a vague international law to silence, and eventually criminalize, speech by U.S. citizens on homosexuality and moral issues. This suit should cause everyone to be concerned, because it a direct threat against freedom of speech.”
Represented by a George Soros-funded, “civil rights” group, SMUG attempts to sue Rev. Lively under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which allows certain aliens to sue in the United States for torts committed against them in the United States. “ATS is not a blanket delegation of lawmaking to the democratically unaccountable international community. Like all American citizens, Rev. Lively enjoys a fundamental First Amendment right to engage in nonviolent political discourse anywhere in the world,” Staver said. “What SMUG cavalierly labels as ‘crimes against humanity’ – the most heinous of all crimes – is actually nothing more than civil, peaceful, political discourse in the public square on a subject of great public concern.”
“When SMUG sued Rev. Lively in a Massachusetts federal court, it launched a direct assault on the supremacy of the United States Constitution,” continued Staver. “Rev. Lively did not check his First Amendment rights at the airport before departing for Uganda,” he concluded.
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.