Scott Lively, who yesterday began standing trial for anti-gay crimes against humanity at the federal courthouse in Springfield, Massachusetts yesterday entered a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Sexual Minorities Uganda to U.S District Court Judge Michael Ponsor who is presiding over the case.
Ponsor said the lawsuit filed by Sexual Minorities Uganda against the Springfield minister poses a test of Lively’s free-speech protection and the rights of sexual minorities to equal protection under the law. But the judge said the plaintiffs needed to show a connection between Lively’s anti-gay advocacy in Uganda and illegal acts committed against gays in the country. “I’m frankly struggling to see what behavior beyond expressive behavior” of Lively violated federal law, the judge said during the hearing attended by about 150 people, including a prominent Ugandan activist.
The plaintiffs, the judge added, “needed to show a more concrete example of misbehavior to justify continuation of the lawsuit.” But the judge also expressed skepticism about Lively’s request to dismiss the case before trial, noting that the courts have set a high legal threshold for throwing out cases. The plaintiff’s lawyer, Pamela Spees, said that Lively both advised and encouraged homophobic activists in Uganda to deprive sexual minorities of their rights.
Lively arrived at the federal courthouse in Springfield clutching a bible and smiling as activists held a press conference outside and rally outside calling for justice..