A Christian evangelist known for his activism against homosexuality in Uganda has announced that he will run as a candidate for governor in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Scott Lively, author of the controversial book The Pink Swastika and head of Abiding Truth Ministries, has declared his candidacy for governor of Massachusetts. Lively, himself a native and longtime resident of the Bay State, made the announcement Monday in a press release posted on his website.
"The people of this state need a candidate who can clearly and unapologetically articulate Biblical values without fear or compromise. They need a candidate who will tell the simple truth that abortion is murder, and homosexuality is condemned by God (but that Jesus forgives and heals those who repent)," reads the press release in part.
"I expect to often be asked by reporters what I think my prospects are for winning this election. To this I reply that it would take a miracle from God for Scott Lively to become Governor of Massachusetts – and I wouldn't want it any other way."
Lively also stated in his announcement that he intends to run as an Independent, taking issue with both the state Democratic and Republican parties. "The Mass Republican Party is solidly controlled by moderate to liberal 'progressives' and the Democrats are virtual communists," reads the statement. "They both embrace and champion the culture of death. With these two liberal parties splitting the liberal vote, a true conservative independent could win the governorship."
Lively's organization, Abiding Truth Ministries, focuses on multiple social issues though by its own acknowledgement it is presently primarily focused on the issue of homosexuality both in the United States and abroad.
Many pro-gay groups, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, have taken exception to the efforts of Lively, as noted by an entry on their blog "Hatewatch." "Lively has a long history of denigrating and demonizing LGBT people and working actively to pass laws against homosexuality, which he has referred to over the years as 'evil' and 'dangerous'," reads the entry in part. "He was communications director with the Oregon Citizens Alliance (OCA) during the early 1990s, a group that developed a strategy to criminalize the advocacy of homosexuality through a variety of ballot measures designed to deny rights to LGBT people."
While preparing for his candidacy, Lively is dealing with legal issues pertaining to his international efforts against homosexuality. In 2012, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) filed a lawsuit against Lively arguing that the evangelical pastor helped advance social and legal discrimination against homosexuals in the African nation. In August, a federal judge in Massachusetts allowed for the suit to go forward, prompting a statement of disappointment from Lively's Liberty Counsel attorney Horatio Mihet.
"We are disappointed with the decision because we believe SMUG's (Sexual Minorities Uganda) claims are firmly foreclosed, not only by the First Amendment right to free speech, but also by the Supreme Court's recent decision in [Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum], which eliminated Alien Tort Statute claims for events that allegedly occurred in foreign nations," said Lively's Liberty Counsel attorney Horatio Mihet, according to WorldNetDaily.
"[We] will continue to vigorously defend Mr. Lively's constitutional rights, with confidence that he will ultimately be vindicated."
Massachusetts will hold its next gubernatorial election in 2014.