Donald Trump’s nominee for a judgeship in Texas has said that transgender children are evidence of “Satan’s plan” and that allowing gay people to get married would lead to beastiality.
Those comments disqualify Jeff Mateer, the first assistant attorney general in Texas, from public service, according to a joint letter to Senate members from 36 national, state, and local civil rights groups sent on Tuesday. The organizations, which include Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Transgender Law Center, now demand that the Senate vote against his nomination.
“Mr. Mateer has spent his professional life denigrating and vilifying LGBT people and their families,” the letter reads. “Such vitriol directed at children reveals more than just a lack of judgment or empathy; rather, it reveals a level of cruelty and ideological fervor that are incompatible with judicial service.”
The Texas attorney general office did not immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment.
Trump nominated Mateer for the district judge seat in Eastern District of Texas in September. In the announcement, the White House cited both his experience in government and at the First Liberty Institute, which defended the free speech rights or an editor who was fired for writing a blog post about the “Gaystapo” while Mateer worked there.
Soon after his nomination, Mateer’s anti-gay stance drew national attention when CNN first reported on speeches he gave — one called “The Church and Homosexuality,” at Denton Baptist Church in Corinth, Texas.
In the speech, Mateer:
- suggested that a trans girl’s suing her school district and winning the right to use the bathroom of her choosing “really shows you how Satan’s plan is working and the destruction that’s going on.”
- speculated that the legalization of gay marriage would lead to the “destruction of marriage” and “people marrying their pets.”
Mateer also gave two speeches in 2015 at the National Religious Liberties Conference, hosted by Pastor Kevin Swanson, who has called for gay people to be put to death. (Swanson has also referred to the gay agenda as the “homosexual Borg,” the hive-minded robot species from Star Trek, and wrote about the gay conspiracy hidden between the lines of Disney’s “Frozen.”) Then-presidential candidate Ted Cruz was also criticized for attending the conference.
But Swanson’s views didn’t seem to bother Mateer, who, rather than denounce the pastor, spoke on the “Seven Things Every Christian Employee Should Know.” That included government-sponsored pro-LGBT “brainwashing” and “reprogramming” sessions, according to audio of the speeches obtained by VICE News from the ACLU.
Mateer has also said that the 14th Amendment has no protections for LGBT people and that the Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges — which gave gay people the right to marry — isn’t “law of the land” because the decision was rendered 5-4.
He has even called into question the First Amendment, specifically the separation of church and state. “I’ll hold up my hundred-dollar bill and say, ‘For the first student who can cite me the provision in the Constitution that guarantees the separation of church and state verbatim, I’ll give this hundred-dollar bill .… It’s not there,” Mateer said at a speech to students at the University of St. Thomas in Houston in 2013, according to the Austin Chronicle.
Mateer’s confirmation hearing hasn’t been scheduled yet, but it’s expected to take place before the end of the year. He’ll need a simple majority in the Senate to be approved.