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Equality news round-up: Case against Scott Lively moves forward, and more

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1stBREAKING UPDATE 4:32PM ET: SCOTUSBlog has posted the Louisiana and Michigan letters discussed below.

– The crimes against humanity case against anti-LGBT activist Scott Lively will be allowed to move forward: the First Circuit Court of Appeals refused to mandate dismissal of the case.

– Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) scored a victory against the Social Security Administration.

– A federal district court in Washington has declined to issue a temporary restraining order in a case involving an anti-LGBT student preaching in school.

– In the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs in the Louisiana marriage case have notified the Court that they are waiving the 14-day waiting period. The Supreme Court rules note that: “If a brief in opposition is timely filed, the Clerk will distribute the petition, brief in opposition, and any reply brief to the Court for its consideration no less than 14 days after the brief in opposition is filed, unless the petitioner expressly waives the 14-day waiting period.” So this means the petition will be ready to go to a conference without a two week delay.

– In DeBoer v. Snyder, the Michigan case, the plaintiffs notified the Court that they are waiving their right to file a reply brief entirely. It’s not clear whether they also waived the waiting period, but the 14-day period ends next Monday, December 8 anyway.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. brandall  |  December 5, 2014 at 8:05 am

    If Scott Lively is convicted, the court should make him serve out his sentence in Uganda.

  • 2. SPQRobin  |  December 5, 2014 at 8:18 am

    I'm not sure whether the Ugandan authorities would agree to cooperate with that!

  • 3. brandall  |  December 5, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Update on Florida. In light of the 11th's decision to not prolong the stay and the activity at SCOTUS, Bondi is quickly running out of options, yet below is her latest response:

    “I’m continuing my stance to get it to the Florida Supreme Court as soon as possible,” said state Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We’re waiving appellate courts in order to have finality, and save the taxpayers money.”

    The pace of Florida's 3rd District Court of Appeal is appalling. I check the docket for Florida v. Pareto every day. The only updates in the last 5 weeks are for allowing additional amicus brief filings and nothing else. Her statement on waiving the appellate courts makes a good sound bite, but it is a lie. The 3rd DCA has indicated (10/24/14) it will not forward the case, but will instead hear it themselves after the Florida Supreme Court remanded the 2nd district's "forward" back to that court in Shaw v. Shaw last September.

    She must think her best chances for a favorable ruling lie with the FL SC. Perhaps she will take the 11th's denial of the stay directly directly to the Florida Supreme Court in an emergency filing. It is going to get very interesting in the next four weeks.

  • 4. guitaristbl  |  December 5, 2014 at 8:54 am

    She won't go to SCOTUS to ask for a stay ?

  • 5. brandall  |  December 5, 2014 at 8:56 am

    She has indicted they are "reviewing the 11th's decision" and not made a statement yet on whether they will take that potential path. There is a risk SCOTUS could turn them down since we are in very uncharted territory on what SCOTUS would do.

  • 6. guitaristbl  |  December 5, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Finally the case against Lively moves forward ! The chances of getting him convicted seem slim and the order itself expresses skepticism but at least they did not dismiss it. Still a strong message is sent hopefully.

    This whole "waiving the right to file a reply" thing from the litigants that have gone to SCUTS though worries me to be honest. Have we grown that confident really ? We should not. Every chance we have to get arguments in should be taken advantage of. And I do not know how this move will look to the judges themselves tbh. I hope the lawyers behind the plaintiffs know better than I do..

  • 7. guitaristbl  |  December 5, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Well she has a month to go with it, so I don't see her rushing..But with the holidays in between (christmas, new year etc) this month is kind of virtual, she has about 20 days in reality.

  • 8. brandall  |  December 5, 2014 at 9:06 am

    IMHO, it has to do with timing and not introducing any delays to get before the court in this term. Every run up to SCOTUS has always included the full set of filings, yet we see here for the first time, 2 cases where the initial filings on both sides are going to be the basis for review. I loved to know if the attorneys consulted each other before declining to file replies in their respective cases.

    Although most folks wold love to see about 10 things addressed (i.e. level of scrutiny), it all boils down to Baker and DOMA's "states rights" to define a discriminatory marriage ban.

  • 9. RemC_Chicago  |  December 5, 2014 at 9:18 am

    NOW she's worried about saving taxpayers' money? This woman makes me so glad we moved out of Florida.

  • 10. RemC_Chicago  |  December 5, 2014 at 9:22 am

    It's troubling to consider what would happen if he isn't convicted. This could send a message to him and his many colleagues that their words and their actions are not worthy of retribution. I imagine the positive spin they would present on such a result: triumph and validation. Don't look forward to that.

  • 11. hopalongcassidy  |  December 5, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Wearing a pink triangle.

  • 12. franklinsewell  |  December 5, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Here's one of those, "And Now We Fight to Obtain Our Benefits," cases from Kansas's next door neighbor, Missouri:

    The District Attorney in Ozark, MO (a small town near Branson and Springfield in the southwestern part of the state) has said that he doesn't think the federal court's decision in Barrier V. Vasterling (the MO federal case seeking recognition of out-of-state marriages) applies to his district.

    The Ozark Fire Protection district is refusing to provide benefits to a legally married lesbian captain in the district.

  • 13. A_Jayne  |  December 5, 2014 at 10:16 am

    He's seeking micro-nullification of a federal court order, is he? Well, good luck with that…

  • 14. franklinsewell  |  December 5, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Oh Jeez … And another one this time a claim of discrimination against a semi-private employer:

  • 15. Raga  |  December 5, 2014 at 10:21 am

    It doesn't make sense to take the 11th denial of the stay to the Florida Supreme Court, which has no authority over federal court injunctions. Her best bet is to appeal the stay denial to the US Supreme Court, which she has nearly a month to carefully plan and execute.

  • 16. Jen_in_MI  |  December 5, 2014 at 10:34 am

    "Carefully plan and execute" – BAHAHAHA!!! Best laugh I've had all day. :-)

  • 17. StraightDave  |  December 5, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I read this as Bondi wanting to use the 11th's stay denial as a justification for expediting direct FL SC action. I mean, we got an emergency here for christsake! Somebody's gotta bail us out from the federal meanies.

  • 18. Raga  |  December 5, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Oh right – that makes sense. In getting the issue to the Florida Supreme Court, the "push" technique hasn't been very effective (as brandall reminds us, the high court refused to take up the divorce appeal pushed to it by the 2nd DCA, and in light of that, the 3rd DCA has reserved judgment on pushing another two appeals (even though they directly attack the ban) towards them for the time being). Perhaps a "pull" technique then? Ask the Florida Supreme Court directly to have the appeals transferred to them? (The CO Supreme Court ordered something similar with the Hillary Hall case when their AG asked them to do so.)

  • 19. Margo Schulter  |  December 5, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Big question on Scott Lively: isn’t this a civil suit by Center for Constitutional Rights and Sexual Minorities Uganda, as opposed to a criminal prosecution — as much we might like to see that at the Hague or before the International Criminal Court, or whatever?

    My understanding, from the little I’ve seen, is that this might be analogous to a civil rights lawsuit against a police officer for an unjustifiable shooting — the same facts might also support criminal charges, but the civil trial would not itself involve the possibility of imprisonment for the defendant, as opposed to the award of damages and also the moral condemnation communicated by a verdict of liability.

  • 20. SWB1987  |  December 5, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I was thinking the same. Could criminal charges ever be brought? Massachusetts seems like the perfect place though

  • 21. Mike_Baltimore  |  December 5, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Since 'Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)' can't sue in US Federal court, and since the US has not ratified the ICC (and thus the US, nor any other entity based in the US, doesn't have any standing in the ICC), the Center for Constitutional Rights is officially suing Lively in US Federal court for SMUG. And Lively is making sure he ONLY is in the US or 'friendly' (to him) countries.

    In other words, it's jurisdictional why Lively is being sued in a criminal court in the US, not at the ICC in the Hague.

    As others have commented, I don't see much probability that the suit will be successful, but we can always hope (and the longer Lively is spending defending himself is that much less time he's spending spouting against the GLBT community).

  • 22. KahuBill  |  December 5, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    It sounds like there will be a full trial. This would be a great opportunity to introduce evidence into the record about the network of co-operation between Lively, NOM, and various other anti-LGBT religious bodies and their activities in Uganda and other places (e.g. Russia) to introduce heinous laws that would be unconstitutional here. It would showcase what they think their "religious liberties" mean to them.

  • 23. davepCA  |  December 5, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Indeed. There is a lot of extremely damaging evidence about the effects of the actions of Lively and his cohorts. Regardless of the results of the trial, it will be a very good thing if the press picks up on this and shines some light on it. A lot of people don't really know about the horrible and harmful things this guy has done. A nice segment on 60 Minutes or 20/20 about the trial evidence would be great.

  • 24. Raga  |  December 5, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Looking at the letters waiving reply from the Louisiana and Michigan Plaintiffs, it seems like the Michigan letter, though dated November 25, was not electronically filed, because it has a large stamp on it saying "Received Dec 3". What did they use, USPS Media Mail? This is extremely frustrating to me, because if it had been electronically filed, the petition would have been ready for the Dec 12 conference! (The Louisiana letter dated Dec 2 was also filed on Dec 3, perhaps they overnighted it or e-filed it after business hours?)

  • 25. nicolas1446  |  December 5, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    That makes me mad also but then I think about and realize it doesn't really matter. I assume you are frustrated because you want to know whether they will grant cert as quickly as possible. I am assuming you are like me and are nervous. I thought about it and we should not be nervous. SCOTUS WILL grant cert. That is just almost guaranteed. Not only are there four liberal votes but SCOTUS will not just leave circuits with different rules. But assuming they don't grant cert. If they don't grant it, that's not a good sign about Justice Kennedy which means we are better of with SCOTUS not taking the case. ……….. Another thing that I found frustrating was having to wait almost 40 days to find out if SCOTUS will grant cert but then I realized that waiting now will reduce the amount of waiting time between argument and decision since now oral arguments will be scheduled in April as opposed to March. (If cert would have been granted in December)

    And another thing you could be frustrated about is about wanting SCOTUS to grant cert on time to rule this term. Well January 9 is still on time so there is nothing to worry about there.

    And finally you could be frustrated about the 5th having time to rule because of this. Well with that, we can just hope they don't rule in 3 days.

  • 26. Raga  |  December 5, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks Nicolas – yeah, I guess I'm just so nervous and anxious that we're giving the Justices less and less time to take up these appeals in time for a decision this term, if they so choose to. What happens happens.

  • 27. RQO  |  December 6, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Indeed, this could be a very illuminating trial, with much reporters' leg work being done by attorney's and certified by the court, and you have identified the 2 TV news shows most likely to do the story justice. The importance of having good examples of what the right wing does with their tax-deductible "religious freedom" cannot be underestimated.
    I am writing the producers of both these shows suggesting they cover this case from NOW, and I encourage everyone else to do so.

  • 28. brooklyn11217  |  December 6, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Does SCOTUS even have electronic filing? I don't think so.

  • 29. SeattleRobin  |  December 6, 2014 at 9:16 am

    For those not familiar with the case of the preaching kid in Washington, the request for the TRO came from the kid, who is the plaintiff. He's brought a First Amendment suit against the school district and various school officials. He wanted a TRO that would prohibit the school from enforcing their policy on handing out literature on school grounds. He has already been suspended two or three times for his actions since the beginning of the school year.

    The case isn't specifically related to gay issues. None of the news reports or court documents I've read have said anything about him targeting gay students. Rather, he has been disruptive in general, and according to fellow students frequently tells them they are sinners and going to Hell. I'm quite sure he is anti-gay, but he appears to liberally spread around his fire and brimstone to anyone who doesn't believe as he does, even other Christians.

    The reason the case is interesting to us is because the group that is providing the lawyer is the type that does get involved in our cases. And it's related to free speech and freedom of religion cases and laws that are becoming more prevalent from the ultra conservative right.

  • 30. RnL2008  |  December 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    The kid already sounds anti-gay, he also seems to think that his Freedom of religion gives him the right to infringe on other's right's to believe as they do and that's the biggest problem I see with his actions……we don't live in a society that states one's religious beliefs has the right to dominate other's who believe differently. I hope he gets smacked down for infringing on the rights of others!!!

  • 31. Raga  |  December 6, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Good point. I know they has e-filing for merits briefs, but I'm unaware if they have a similar procedure for cert petitions.

  • 32. franklinsewell  |  December 7, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I think only merits briefs may be filed electronically – so behind the times … and all the circuits!

  • 33. SeattleRobin  |  December 8, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    It's not so much a case of infringing on the rights of others to believe how they want so much as a case of believing that the right to free speech is more or less unlimited. That he has a right to preech and hand out literature whenever he wants, as long as it isn't during class time. And that he has this right even if others think he's being disruptive.

    The school policy is that students can hand out literature that they or a fellow student has written and produced before and after school at the entrance/exit of the building. He's been suspended (after warnings) for handing out a tract from a third party during school hours. He also likes to preech at lunch and school events.

  • 34. sfbob  |  December 8, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    There is a point beyond which aggressive proselytizing could be construed as a form of harassment.

  • 35. SeattleRobin  |  December 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Yeah, which I'm sure will be brought up once the case gets to the merits. At least one student lodged an official written complaint against the plaintiff and I believe others have made verbal complaints, all of which includes harassment as part of the complaint.

  • 36. brandall  |  January 10, 2015 at 8:43 am

    I'm replying to your last comment in the hopes you have e-mail notifications turned on. Are you OK? We haven't heard from you in over 4 weeks. Send a smoke signal, carrier pigeon or something to let us all know how you are doing. Miss 'ya! BRANDALL

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