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On March 14 theCenter for Constitutional Rights filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a non-profit umbrella organization for LGBTI advocacy groups in Uganda, against Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively, a U.S.-based attorney, author, and self-described world-leading expert on the “gay movement.” Filed in the United States District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts, the suit alleges that Lively’s involvement in anti-gay efforts in Uganda, including his active participation in the conspiracy to strip away fundamental rights from LGBTI persons, constitutes persecution.
This is the first known Alien Tort Statute (ATS) case seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The United States Supreme Court has affirmed the use of the ATS as a remedy for serious violations of international law norms that are widely accepted and clearly defined. Persecution is defined in international law as the “intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity.”