Well this is a surprise. A US court declined to dismiss a lawsuit against Pastor Scott Lively. Pink News reports:
An appeals court has refused to dismiss a case against homophobic pastor Scott Lively, who is set to stand trial for crimes against humanity.
Lively is an American pastor who cheered on anti-gay legislation in Russia, branding Putin an ‘unlikely hero’ for passing it.
It previously emerged that he addressed an anti-gay conference in Uganda just before the country’s homophobic law was first drafted, and he is facing a charge of crimes against humanity for his role in encouraging the country’s law, and similar ones around the world.
I’m amazed. I don’t think “free speech” should be extended to advocacy of death to others, but I don’t expect US courts to agree with me, so I’m amazed.
The US First Circuit Court of Appeal this week refused his bid to have the case against him dismissed on free speech grounds – meaning the case will go to trial.
The short judgment said: “Although it is debatable whether the district court has properly parsed the petitioner’s protected speech from any unprotected speech or conduct, his right to extraordinary relief is not clear and indisputable.
“The petition is denied.”
Kevin Kehres says
Color me stunned.
Lady Mondegreen (aka Stacy) says
I wonder if international charges could be brought?
Marcus Ranum says
I’m amazed, too. Usually it seems the US’ main way of encouraging political change in the world involves dropping high explosive on civilians.
Maybe that’s next.
This is a good decision. It doesn’t say he’s guilty, but it does say that “freeze peach” doesn’t cut it as a get-out-of-trial card. This already puts the decision leagues ahead of the recent crop of failures to indict police who have killed unarmed civilians because here the judges are at least saying “you will go to trial on this and you will have to mount a defence” whereas the grand juries have essentially declared that any police officer who kills an unarmed person in dubious circumstances will never have to answer to a court.
Matthew White says
I have to disagree with free speech not allowing for the advocacy of death to others. Otherwise, anyone who says they support the death penalty, or speaks in favor of a particular war or military campaign (or says Osama bin Laden should be taken out by Navy Seals), could be subject to legal punishment.
The Supreme Court ruled (I’m not suggesting that something is right simply because a few people sitting on a US court at some point in time say it is, just giving an example) that hypothetical discussion of law breaking, apart from any concrete action, is protected speech (for example, importing a book which advocated revolution, or a group of communists having a discussion about how a revolution would be a good thing).
Folie Deuce says
“I’m amazed. I don’t think “free speech” should be extended to advocacy of death to others, but I don’t expect US courts to agree with me, so I’m amazed.”
Ophelia is a bit harsh on U.S. courts in that statement. U.S. courts don’t have carte blanch to right every wrong. A victory for the plaintiffs in this case is going to be very difficult. Lively is being prosecuted under an obscure law from 1789 (the Alien Torts Statute) that was forgotten for most of American history until human rights activists discovered it relatively recently. Lawsuits under the Alien Torts Statute are a bit like the “Hail Mary” pass in American football – a long shot. This is a trailblazing case and I applaud the people trying to bring this idiot to justice but I suspect the efforts will fail simply because the law is so obscure. Ultimately, if we want U.S. courts to have jurisdiction to adjudicate claims relating to human rights abuses in foreign lands, that will likely require a new law that takes account of human rights violations in a 21st century context.