New acting AG Matthew Whitaker defended man’s right to call LGBTQ people the ‘gaystapo’ and ‘the enemy’ as ‘religious beliefs’
Matthew Whitaker (Screen Capture)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker just three years ago defended a newspaper editor who had publicly labeled LGBTQ people "the gaystapo" and "the enemy." Whitaker claimed his client's "sincerely-held religious beliefs" gave him a right to denigrate LGBTQ people – while keeping his job.

In 2014 Bob Eschliman, the editor of a small Iowa newspaper, wrote in his personal blog post an angry rant attacking gay people and the LGBT community as "the enemy," "the deceivers," the "Gaystapo," and "the LGBTQXYZ crowd," as NCRM reported.

His employer, the third third-oldest family-owned newspaper in the country, took a principled stand and fired him – not for his religious beliefs, but for a very ugly attack on LGBTQ people. In an editorial after terminating him the newspaper noted that it had "lost some of that public trust that is so vital to our existence" as a newspaper, as a result of Eschliman's actions, and were working to get it back.

Eschliman filed a federal complaint against his former bosses with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), claiming he was fired for his religious beliefs.

His attorney, Matthew Whitaker, penned a letter in 2015 to his former employer, claiming Eschliman "holds religious beliefs similar to millions of Americans." He also claimed that they "intentionally discriminated" against him for his religious beliefs.

At the time, Whitaker was  a volunteer attorney for the anti-gay Christian right organization Liberty Institute.

President Donald Trump just hours ago named Whitaker as the Acting Attorney General, after firing Jeff Sessions.