Never ask Mat Staver for medical tips, folks.
In a new interview, the lawyer and chairman of the Liberty Counsel made outrageous claims about the June 12, 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Speaking on Monday’s installment of the Liberty Counsel’s “Faith and Freedom” radio show, Staver reinforced a debunked stereotype about gay men and AIDS, suggesting that police officers would require HIV testing after coming into contact with victims’ blood, Right Wing Watch reports.
“As tragic as it is, some of these officers have no doubt gone through trauma as well because they were going through the Pulse nightclub,” he said in the interview, a snippet of which can be heard below. “You know, they’re having to get tested for AIDS-related conditions because they’re literally walking in pools of blood.”
But Staver, who offered nothing in the way of medical evidence for his claim, didn’t stop there. In the interview, he also shrugged off the idea that shooter Omar Mateen had targeted the Pulse victims, most of whom identified as LGBTQ, because he was anti-queer.
“He was following ISIS; he had committed allegiance to ISIS,” he told Liberty Counsel Communications Director Holly Meade. “But there was a narrative that the Obama administration and local politicians, including Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, wanted to promote, and it was the rainbow flag. It was an anti-gay issue.” Instead, he said, “It really was a terrorism issue.”
As eyebrow-raising as Staver’s comments may be, they’re perfectly in line with his history of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. The attorney is probably best known for defending Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who became a darling of the right-wing after she rejected the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on marriage equality and refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
H/T Right Wing Watch
For the latest in LGBTQ politics, don’t miss the Queer Voices newsletter.