Uganda: Anti-Gay Evangelist Scott Lively Appears in Federal Court, and Facebook Takes Down 'Outing' Page
After hearings yesterday, a federal court is weighing a request for dismissal from anti-gay evangelical Scott Lively of a case brought against him by Pepe Onziema, a transgender gay rights activist and SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda) accusing Lively of crimes against humanity.
The AP reports:
Following court arguments Monday, it is now up to U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor to decide whether to grant Lively’s motion to dismiss a civil action that Sexual Minorities Uganda filed against him last year. The Uganda-based group for which Onziema serves as program director alleges that Lively waged a long campaign of persecution of gays in the East African country.
Lively’s lawyer, Horatio Mihet, called the case an attack on the U.S. Constitution and his client’s First Amendment right to free speech. Plaintiff’s attorney Pam Spees, from the Center for Constitutional Rights, said Lively conspired with others in Uganda to persecute gays.
With every courtroom seat filled, court officials broadcast the proceeding to two overflow rooms so spectators could watch the arguments live.
The page, called "Kampala Exposed: Facts and Rumors," was brought to wider attention by a Change.org petition started by the LGBT organization Freedom and Roam Uganda, and reported on by Towleroad. In the petition, Freedom and Roam Uganda cited a previous "outing" of Ugandans perceived to be gay in a local newspaper and the anti-gay bias believed to have led to the murder of prominent Ugandan LGBT advocate David Kato. GLAAD reached out to Facebook regarding the anti-gay page.