Kim Davis’ lawyers are fighting to keep LGBTQ people out of a Congressional bill to make lynching a federal hate crime.
The Justice for Victims of Lynching Act passed the Senate in December following a unanimous vote of 100 to 0. The legislation has been a long time coming. The bill was first put forward in 1882 and has stalled more than 200 times in the 137 years since, according to the New York Times.
The current version of the proposal was put forward by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
Despite its overwhelming popularity, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver plans to lobby against LGBTQ-inclusive provisions in the legislation as it moves through the House of Representatives. The draft bill covers characteristics like “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” in addition to “color,” “national origin,” “race,” and “religion.”
Staver told One News Now this language is a way to pass anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community through the back door.
“So far they’ve been unsuccessful over the many years in the past [at passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act],” the Liberty Counsel founder and CEO claimed, “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 [jugular] at some time in the future.”
First put forward in 1994, ENDA would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.
Although it failed to become law, that legislation eventually led to the introduction of the Equality Act, which expands LGBTQ inclusions in standing civil rights law beyond the workplace. It would protect against sexual orientation and gender identity bias in all walks of life, whether housing and education or credit and federal funding.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Democrats would take up the issue if they won back the House in the 2018 midterms. Democrats now hold a 36-seat majority in the chambers.
Staver warned the LGBTQ-inclusive Lynching Act is a sign of things to come.
“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,” he said. “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.”
The right-wing activist claimed Liberty Counsel—which famously represented the once-jailed Rowan County clerk in court—was already lobbying House lawmakers to remove the language on LGBTQ identity.
The Orlando, Florida-based firm has a noted track record of anti-LGBTQ advocacy.
Following her brief five-day incarceration, Liberty Counsel took Davis on a nine-day trip to Romania to lobby against same-sex marriage. As sources told INTO at the time, she was “presented like a martyr” during the speaking tour.
Despite Liberty Counsel’s efforts, a referendum to ban marriage equality in Romania failed due to low voter turnout.
Liberty Counsel has also pushed for the introduction of anti-trans “bathroom bills” across the U.S. and is behind lawsuits challenging Planet Fitness’ inclusive locker room policy. They have also opposed local ordinances banning conversion therapy.