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Evangelical activists want LGBT people excluded from anti-lynching bill

Nick Duffy January 8, 2019
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel wants to amend the anti-lynching bill

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel wants to amend the anti-lynching bill

Evangelical activists are pressing Republican lawmakers to strip protections for LGBT+ people from an anti-lynching bill.

The Justice for Victims of Lynching Act cleared the US Senate on December 20 in a rare unanimous vote.

The bill would allow lynchings—bias-motivated mob killings without legal authority—to be charged as a federal hate crime for the first time.

Anti-lynching bill under fire from Liberty Counsel

However, evangelical law firm Liberty Counsel is upset because a portion of the bill includes protections for LGBT people as well as ethnic minorities.

In addition to “race, colour, religion, and national origin,” the law also covers crimes against “gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability” motivated by hatred.

Democratic lawmakers Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, who are both African-American, were behind the legislation.

But Liberty Counsel president Mat Staver told fundamentalist Christian news outlet OneNewsNow that he is lobbying lawmakers in the House of Representatives to have the LGBT language removed from the law.

Staver claimed: “The old saying is once that camel gets the nose in the tent, you can’t stop them from coming the rest of the way in.

“And this would be the first time that you would have in federal law mentioning gender identity and sexual orientation, as part of this anti-lynching bill.”

Founder and Chairman of the Liberty Counsel Mat Staver speaks during live nativity scene outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on December 12, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Founder and Chairman of the Liberty Counsel Mat Staver speaks during live nativity scene outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on December 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Zach Gibson/Getty)

The activist claimed the law was part of a slippery slope that could lead to further LGBT anti-discrimination laws, which have long been blocked by the GOP in Congress.

He claimed: “They’ve been unsuccessful over the many years in the past… but this is a way to slip it in under a so-called anti-lynching bill, and to then to sort of circle the wagon and then go for the juggler [sic] at some time in the future.”

Liberty Counsel is listed anti-LGBT hate group

Staver’s Liberty Counsel is best known for representing embattled Kentucky clerk Kim Davis when she refused to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples after a US Supreme Court decision to legalise gay marriage.

Evangelical law firm Liberty Counsel has a history of spreading anti-LGBT propaganda and is classified as a hate group by extremism watchdog the Southern Poverty Law Center due to its aggressive messaging and tactics.

Staver previously made a false claim that first responders at the 2016 Pulse gay club attack had to “get tested for AIDS-related conditions” because of the blood of gay victims.

Liberty Counsel has previously admitted helping state Republican lawmakers to draft anti-LGBT legislation, as well as attempting to push anti-LGBT laws around the world.

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