Hate Group Leader Mad Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel

via YouTube/Fox News

On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in Pickup v. Newsom challenging California’s ban on conversion therapy for children.

Hate Group Leader Mat Staver (Liberty Counsel) represents conversion “therapist” David Pickup. Pickup has been suing the State of California since 2012 in an attempt to reverse the state’s conversion therapy ban. California SB-1172 went into effect on January 1, 2013. On August 29, 2013 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the ban. On June 30, 2014 the United States Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

That should have settled the matter. However, Mat Mad does not have paying clients interested in containing expenses. Furthermore, the Christian calculus is counter-intuitive. Staver can use frivolous litigation to raise more money than his organization expends.

Without getting too far into the weeds: Last year, in NIFLA v. Becerra, Justice Thomas wrote about professional speech in a manner that gave some hope to conversion therapy advocates seeking to overturn bans. In addition to Pickup, Staver is challenging laws in New Jersey and Maryland and ordinances in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County plus another case challenging Tampa, Florida’s ban. That’s five cases that I know about. Mad Mat could have others.

In light of the ruling in NIFLA, Staver asked the Ninth Circuit last November to reconsider its 2013 ruling. The Ninth Circuit declined. On March 21 of this year, Staver petitioned the Supreme Court. Now that the Court has declined to hear the case, Staver is refiling the complaint in a California district court. Eventually it will make its way to the California Supreme Court with Staver losing at each step.

Staver admits that he is going to lose writing that he will “work this case back up to the U.S. Supreme Court.” Taxpayers are picking up the tab, not only for court costs but California’s legal fees to defend its law.

This comes on the heels of the United States Supreme Court decision on April 15 not to hear the New Jersey challenge (King. v. Murphy). Staver is refiling in that case too, presumably in state court with the intention of getting yet another shot at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Tampa case is at the 11th Circuit because the district court declined to issue an injunction. Were that circuit to rule in Staver’s favor it would create a diversity of opinion given the Ninth Circuit’s rulings. This would provide greater potential for the Supreme Court to hear one of these cases. The 11th Circuit is conservative but rational.

Staver racks up considerable costs for taxpayers while using the same actions to attract donations. It is quite a racket. I suppose that Staver thinks that he is in the right. On the other hand, his omnipotent deity doesn’t seem interested in fucking up kids for the glory of his god.

On a related matter, I continue to press the issue of Liberty Counsel’s designation as a church auxiliary which means that it does not have to file an annual report with the IRS. The most recent report that it has provided is for the year ended June 30, 2015. Not only does it get to rack up a bill for taxpayers but it is not required to provide any transparency.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.