Metro Weekly

HRC calling on Trump to withdraw judicial nomination of Jeff Mateer

Nominee for the Eastern District of Texas supports conversion therapy and opposes expansions of LGBTQ rights

Jeff Mateer – Photo: “The Church and Homosexuality,” via Vimeo.

“If the White House won’t withdraw this nomination, it is incumbent on the Senate Judiciary Committee to block this attack on LGBTQ people and the civil rights of all Americans.”

–Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, in a statement calling on President Trump to withdraw his nomination of Jeff Mateer, an assistant attorney general in Texas and former counsel for the anti-LGBTQ Liberty First Institute, to fill a position on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Mateer, who requires Senate confirmation, is under fire after comments he made about LGBTQ people and the expansion of their civil rights came to light. In two separate speeches he gave in 2015, Mateer attacked transgender civil rights, implied that same-sex marriage would lead to legalizing bestiality and polygamy, and lamented that states were considering bans on conversion therapy. 

“The Trump-Pence administration either failed to vet Jeff Mateer or they knew his hateful, extremist views and nominated him anyway,” Griffin said. “In either case, they must withdraw the nomination of someone who viciously attacks transgender children, openly embraced Mike Pence’s license-to-discriminate law in Indiana, and has repeatedly opposed anti-discrimination protections throughout his career.”

HRC contends that due to his personal beliefs and animus towards LGBTQ people, Mateer is incapable of being impartial should a case with an LGBTQ plaintiff or defendant come before his court. The organization also fears that Mateer may use his position to limit what few protections or benefits LGBTQ people residing in Texas already enjoy, such as a case in which the city of Houston is being sued for trying to take away spousal benefits from LGBTQ city employees. 

“Judges are tasked with a sacred duty to enforce equal treatment for all people under our laws, which is why it is so alarming that Jeff Mateer has spent his career opposing anti-discrimination protections and attacking transgender children,” HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said in a statement. “Someone who publicly and unabashedly voices contempt for LGBTQ people has no place on the bench or in public office.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com