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Mathew D. "Mat" Staver is an American lawyer and former Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) pastor who became a Southern Baptist.[5] He is a former dean of Liberty University's law school. In 1989, he founded Liberty Counsel law firm, where he serves as chairman.

Mathew D. Staver
NationalityUnited States of America
EducationB.A. in Theology from Southern Missionary College
[1] M.A. in Religion from Andrews University
J.D. from the University of Kentucky
EmployerLiberty Counsel
Known forOpposition to LGBTQ rights[2][3][4]
TitleChairman of Liberty Counsel Action[4]
Spouse(s)Anita Staver


Personal life and careerEdit

Staver received a B.A. in theology from Southern Missionary College, an M.A. in religion from Andrews University, and a J.D. from the University of Kentucky. During college he began a process which led him to later leave the SDA church and eventually attend a Southern Baptist church.[5]

As a Young Earth creationist who believes that intelligent design should be taught in public schools, Staver also denies Darwinian evolution.[6]

He has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States twice and has argued, generally unsuccessfully, before most of the federal courts of appeals.[7]

Staver served as Liberty University's law school dean from 2006 to 2014.

In 2011 he was added to the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations, which was started by Senator Grassley.[8]

Staver has been a frequent guest speaker at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.[9]

In October 2015, Staver falsely stated that 100,000 people gathered in Peru to support his client Kim Davis, in support of her refusal to issue marriage licenses. The event was shown to have happened more than a year earlier and was unrelated to Davis.[10] Liberty Counsel issued a press release afterwards stating that Staver had relied on a member of the Peruvian Congress for the information on the rally.[11]

In late 2018 he voiced his opposition to LGTBQ rights by requesting that references to gender identity and sexual orientation be removed from a senate bill that would make lynching a federal crime.[12]

Legal casesEdit

In 1994 Staver argued the Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc. at the United States Supreme Court, representing individuals who fought a court order banning protesters from interfering with those entering or exiting the clinic within a 36-foot buffer zone. The Court ultimately ruled 6-3 striking down the 300-foot zone around people going in and out of the clinic and striking down the prohibition against images "observable" from inside the clinic.[13] The court upheld the 36-foot buffer zone.[14] An audio recording of the case was made by the Supreme Court.[15]

In 2012 Staver unsuccessfully argued a case[16] at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia on behalf of Liberty University against the Affordable Care Act. On July 12, 2013, the Fourth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act over Liberty's arguments against the "employer mandate."[17]

Staver also unsuccessfully represented former Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who has fought issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples based on her religious objection.[18]


  1. ^ Biography: Point of View On-Air Line Up for Wednesday, May 11, 2011
  2. ^ Sopelsa, Brooke (January 9, 2019). "Evangelical group wants gays removed from anti-lynching bill". NBC News. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  3. ^ Miller, Hayley (September 9, 2015). "It's Time to Know the Truth About Mat Staver and the Liberty Counsel". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Rodgers, Bethany (September 19, 2015). "Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver primed for battle in culture wars". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  5. ^ a b God on Trial: Dispatches from America's Religious Battlefields, by Peter H. Irons
  6. ^ Darwin Was Right! Or Was He? Orlando Weekly, September 1, 2005
  7. ^ Biography-Staver, Mathew D. Liberty University School of Law
  8. ^ Dean Staver Appointed to Panel Regarding Religious and Nonprofit Groups
  9. ^ Values Voter Summit
  10. ^ "Law firm labeled hate group leading Kim Davis' crusade". Retrieved 2015-10-06.
  11. ^ "Peruvian Prayer Meeting for Kim Davis Correction". Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  12. ^ "Evangelical group wants gays removed from anti-lynching bill". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  13. ^ 1994 article (PDF)
  14. ^ Madsen v. Women's Health Center - Cornell University
  15. ^ Madsen v. Women's Health Center, Inc. - Oral Argument, U.S. Supreme Court Media
  16. ^ Appeals Court Hears Challenges
  17. ^ Liberty University v. Lew (PDF)
  18. ^ Kentucky Clerk's Request For A Stay Is Denied By US Supreme Court NPR

External linksEdit

Academic offices
Preceded by
Bruce Green
Dean of Liberty University School of Law
2006 – 2014
Succeeded by
Business positions
Preceded by
New position
Chairman of Liberty Counsel
Succeeded by