Gay Ugandans Suing Lively Seek Redactions

     SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (CN) – Scott Lively’s defense against crimes-against-humanity claims will put activists at risk, a group for gay Ugandans told a federal judge.
     Sexual Minorities Uganda set its sights on the former Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate after the Abiding Truth Ministries president held an anti-gay workshop in the East African nation.
     Uganda’s high court had just affirmed that lesbians and gays enjoy basic legal protections in 2008, but Sexual Minorities Uganda said Lively’s call to arms, likening the “gay movement” to Nazism and the Rwandan genocide, ignited a cultural panic.
     It says Lively’s work led one member of the Ugandan Parliament to announce, “We must exterminate homosexuals before they exterminate society.”
     Soon thereafter, Ugandan lawmakers passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to broaden the criminalization of same-sex relations.
     SMUG, short for Sexual Minorities Uganda, claimed that the its advocacy officer was bludgeoned to death in his home four months after a tabloid newspaper outed him in a 2010 article espousing Lively’s views.
     After a federal judge advanced the claims against Lively in 2013, SMUG produced 25,000 pages of records in response to the preacher’s discovery requests.
     Lively, whose ministry is based in Springfield, Mass., in turn moved for the unredacted version of the records, including the names and addresses of campaign donors and the face and names of activists in Uganda where advocating for gay rights is illegal.
     Though Lively claimed that the redactions interfere with his defense, SMUG complained in a July 9 opposition brief that the release of its unredacted records would put Ugandan activists in harm’s way.
     “If we are forced to disclose the identities of partners, donors and affiliates who have nothing to do with our claims in this litigation, particularly to someone like the Defendant, who has been in close contact with key persons in Uganda seeking to silence and criminalize us, including leading anti-gay advocates and members of Parliament, it will deter others from remaining in contact with us and supporting our work,” SMUG executive director Frank Mugisha wrote in affidavit accompanying the brief.
     Redactions include identifying information for donors and affiliates who were not witnesses to the workshop at the center of the lawsuit, email addresses of supporters, personal phone number and bank account details.
     Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Pamela Spees wrote a declaration for the group as well.
     SMUG is also represented by the Manhattan office of Dorsey & Whitney.

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