Stefan Kunze via

The bill they are protesting would allow lynches to be tried as a federal hate crime.

An evangelical group in the United States is putting pressure on Republican politicians to remove LGBTQ people from an anti-lynching bill. The Justice for Victims of Lynching Act unanimously passed the US Senate last December.

The bill means that lynchings, a premeditated extrajudicial killing by a group usually motivated by prejudice, would be charged as a federal hate crime.

However, the evangelical organisation, the Liberty Counsel, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, are unhappy that LGBTQ people will fall under the bill’s protections.

Speaking to the fundamentalist Christian news network, OneNewsNow, Mat Staver, the president of the Liberty Counsel, said: “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.

“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.”

Staver then voiced fears that the bill could lead to other anti-discrimination measures in favour of the LGBTQ community. “They’ve been unsuccessful over the many years in the past… 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 juggler [sic] at some time in the future,” he claimed.

A spokesperson from the Human Rights Campaign hit back at Staver, saying: “The Liberty Counsel has a long history of attacking LGBTQ people and their families by working to enshrine discrimination into law and undermine advances in fairness and equality.

“Their attempt to remove LGBTQ people from an anti-lynching bill demonstrates their animosity toward LGBTQ people.”