In a recent issue, Vox shined a bright spotlight on the Liberty Counsel, publishing a piece which should serve as a lesson on how to create a proper article.
German Lopez's article, Meet the little-known religious group that turned Kim Davis into a right-wing superstar, is detailed, thoroughly researched, and downright brutal. An excerpt is as follow:
The group presents itself as a reasonable arbiter of religious liberties in these fights, citing discredited scientific research and supposed experts. But a theme runs through all of these battles: Stop LGBTQ rights — even basic ones, like legally allowing consensual same-sex relationships — at any cost.
Here are just a few examples of Staver and Liberty Counsel's past work and comments, largely gathered from Right Wing Watch's archives:
- In 2003, Liberty Counsel submitted a brief to the Supreme Court arguing that the court should not strike down states' anti-sodomy laws, which banned gay sex. The brief stated, "Statistical evidence concerning the medical and social harms resulting from 'private, consensual' same-sex sexual conduct, together with recent legislative and judicial battles, underscore the long-term, devastating consequences of a decision declaring a fundamental right to engage in private consensual same-sex sodomy.
- In 2004, Staver argued in Same-Sex Marriage: Putting Every Household at Risk, "Homosexuality is a destructive lifestyle both physically and emotionally. Same-sex marriage cannot be viewed in isolation from homosexual activity and its consequences on those who engage in such practices, and especially on children raised in such an environment." He was citing the now-discredited work of psychologist Paul Cameron.
. . . Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told me that the long history of anti-LGBTQ activism and incendiary comments is what led his organization to classify Liberty Counsel as a hate group. "We do not list groups on the basis of opposition to same-sex marriage or the belief that homosexuality is a sin," Potok said. "We base it on the propagation of known falsehoods and, to a lesser extent, repetitive name-calling."
Staver denies that Liberty Counsel is a hate group, saying his comments have been taken out of context and noting that his group strictly advocates for nonviolent protest. But looking at the collection of all these statements, an obvious pattern emerges — one that is clearly demeaning to LGBTQ people.
But as offensive as these comments are, they're not even the most bizarre aspect of Liberty Counsel's recent anti-LGBTQ work. In the past month, Staver and the group have also been caught repeatedly lying — in what seem to be two failed attempts to appear as if the group and its anti-LGBTQ crusades are still a major, well-supported force in the world.