Gay judges should be banned from hearing cases about Christians, says evangelical leader
Evangelical legal chief Mat Staver has called for gay judges to be barred from hearing cases about religious freedom.
Staver, the head of the Liberty Counsel, has been at the forefront of cases about anti-LGBT discrimination, defending Kentucky clerk Kim Davis when she blocked gay couple from getting married.
His comments, picked up by Right Wing Watch, were made on VCY America’s Crosstalk radio programme while discussing the nomination of the first openly gay chief justice of a state Supreme Court.
He said: “Here’s the problem with it.
“Beyond the issue of the morality of this, beyond the issue of other consequences is the fact that what we typically see is someone’s identity, their being, completely wrapped up in their sexual practices.
“Do you think that if you had an Aaron and Melissa Klein or a Jack Phillips bakery or anything else like that where you have the LGBT clash with religious freedom or freedom of expression come before this judge, do you think this judge is going to be open and fair, irrespective of what he does, to rule based on the Constitution and the rule of law? I don’t think so.
“That’s why this is a real problem. What we are doing is we’re putting somebody on a bench who is siding with their personal identity.”
Staver compared gay judges to the case of a judge who had been found guilty of sexual misconduct.
He said: “Imagine a case coming before him, and it’s about sexual molestation of someone.
“Do you think you’re going to get a fair shake out of that guy? I don’t think so.
“So the question is: are you going to get a fair shake out of this individual, who identifies as someone based upon his sexual practices, who is identified and identifies himself based upon certain behaviour?
“Are you gonna get a fair shake? I don’t think so. So that is a real problem in this nomination of this appointment of this individual.”
He is not the first person to make the argument.
One of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees recently insisted that gay judges shouldn’t hear LGBT cases – because they’re biased.
Howard C. Nielson Jr., who Trump nominated to the U.S. District Court of Utah, argued that a judge should have recused himself from a case about equal marriage because he was in a same-sex relationship.
The Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a group which monitors the judiciary, raised concerns over Nielson’s nomination in a new report.
The group said it showed that Nielson said it was “extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a practising homosexual himself”.
Nielson put forward a motion which targeted the judge in the marriage case, Vaughn Walker, for his sexuality.
In it, he argued that Walker “had a duty to disclose not only the facts concerning his relationship, but also his marriage intentions”, the report said.
Only if Walker “disavowed any interest in marrying his partner could the parties and the public be confident that he did not have a direct personal interest in the outcome,” Nielson added.
The motion was rejected.
Staver is the head of Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT hate group which has a history of spreading anti-LGBT propaganda and extremism.
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Staver recently falsely claimed that first responders at 2016’s Pulse nightclub shooting had to “get tested for AIDS-related conditions” because of the blood of gay victims – while LC President Anita Staver claims she takes a gun to the toilet in case there are any transgender women in there.
The Liberty Counsel rose to national prominence after providing free legal representation to embattled Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, when she refused to carry out her duties because of same-sex marriage.
The group has more recently been secretly helping Republican lawmakers draft anti-LGBT legislation in a number of states, leading to a wave of anti-LGBT ‘conscience’ bills and ‘bathroom laws’ that exploit transgender issues as an excuse to strip back anti-discrimination protections.
The US-based group has also been caught meddling in other countries, attempting to push anti-LGBT laws around the world.