Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver continued his pattern of fearmongering about LGBTQ people by comparing them to pedophiles, using his podcast to lie that sexually abusing children would no longer be a crime if the Equality Act is passed. Specifically, Staver falsely claimed that Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged criminal behavior trafficking minors “couldn’t” be criminalized if it was to become law and said that LGBTQ advocates are “promoting” pedophilia, continuing a long history of right-wing groups attempting to paint LGBTQ people as deviant by associating them with pedophiles.
Staver has previously falsely claimed the Equality Act — a bill that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to existing civil rights nondiscrimination protections — would “open the door to pedophilia” and lied that its protections for sexual orientation would “include pedophilia.” His group, Liberty Counsel, has regularly used its website, emails, podcast, and Staver’s appearances on radio and TV to misinform and fearmonger about the bill.
Outside of his opposition to the Equality Act, Staver has consistently compared LGBTQ people to pedophiles throughout his career. Similar claims have been repeated on right-wing evangelical website LifeSite News and by prominent right-wing, anti-abortion blogger The Activist Mommy, to name a few. Extreme anti-LGBTQ group the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer even called the bill the “Pedophile Protection Act” in a blog post that also outrageously claimed that bestiality, incest, and necrophilia would soon become protected categories. […]