Saturday, May 12, 2018

Scott Lively's candidacy for governor of Massachusetts: On LGBT issues

Scott Lively is a Christian pastor and will be a gubernatorial candidate on the Massachusetts Republican primary ballot on Sept. 4, 2018. I encourage Massachusetts voters especially to pay attention to his personal record on LGBT issues. Here's some of his views as he currently represents them on his own campaign website (accessed May 12, 2018).

On his homepage, he says that society must support the "primacy" of the "natural family" (which he defines by "life-long" monogamous heterosexual marriage and the getting of children "through birth or adoption") and should practice "tolerance for those who choose to live discretely [sic] outside the mainstream." (This is on his campaign homepage under "Seven Issues that Define My Campaign and My Life," Item 3, "Devotion to Family.") He does not define what it would mean for someone to live discreetly (i.e. unobtrusively to others), why that request does not infringe upon someone's dignity and right to free expression, and exactly what kind of intolerance he is threatening against them if he should notice their gay existence.

On his Issues page, under "My Position on LGBT Issues," he refers to "the LGBT movement" as "the anti-church". He wants to see "a new legal doctrine creating the 'Separation of LGBT and State'," meaning that the government would not be able to fund any organization that promoted "LGBT ideology" and that government officials would not be able to march in Pride parades. He says that so-called "Sexual Orientation Regulations" often have been used "as a sword to attack religious freedom and freedom of speech," though he gives no examples or references on this webpage, and that Massachusetts should have a policy that these "sexual orientation regulations" shall never "supersede the First Amendment rights of individuals, churches and religious organizations to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion," though he gives no indication of why he believes that such conflicts (if they exist) can be resolved on the level of Massachusetts policy and are not rather a matter of how the U.S. Supreme Court interprets First Amendment and anti-discrimination laws.

He thinks such a restriction would be equivalent to the "separation of church and state" (hence why he names it "separation of LGBT and state"), yet he does not cut out theism from his own speech in the same way that he wants other people to cut out their beliefs about human sexuality. He says that government officials should not be able to lend their speech to a Pride parade, but he doesn't square this with why he, as candidate for governor, is entitled to write on his campaign homepage: "I believe the Bible is the Word of God, and the best source of guidance in every aspect of human life...God will prove Himself to every person who honestly seeks Him."

His Issues page also says: "I will work to pass a law following the Russian model of banning the promotion of non-traditional lifestyles to minors, a law for which I advocated while in Russia and the former Soviet Union in 2006 and 2007." Indeed, in 2013, Russia passed a law against distributing LGBT-normalizing "propaganda" to minors, meaning that it may be dangerous for anyone in Russia to simply acknowledge the existence of gay people in front of a child under 18 since they could be accused of promoting LGBT ideology. Lively wrote an open letter to Putin congratulating him for passing the law.

He was also involved with Uganda's "anti-homosexuality act," a bill that originally called for the death penalty for same-sex relations, which you can learn about on the Wikipedia page for Scott Lively.

Lively's campaign homepage also identifies him as a Trump supporter.

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