If Donald Trump has his way, Jeff Mateer will be one of Texas’ next federal judges. If Jeff Mateer has his way, trans people will burn in hell for all eternity.
Mateer, who currently serves as First Assistant Attorney General for Texas, was nominated by president Trump earlier this month to become a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. It was a decision that immediately drew criticism from observers, who argued Mateer’s connections with the anti-LGBTQ First Liberty Institute made him unfit for the bench.
Those arguments were bolstered this week when CNN’s Chris Massie and Andrew Kaczynski uncovered a pair of 2015 speeches in which Mateer referred to trans people as being part of “Satan’s plan,” and defended the cruel—and widely debunked—practice of so-called “conversion therapy.”
In one speech, given while was serving as general counsel for the First Liberty Institute, Mateer bemoaned a court case involving a trans student whose family sued for her to be granted access to her school’s bathroom:
In Colorado, a public school has been sued because a first grader and I forget the sex, she’s a girl who thinks she’s a boy or a boy who thinks she’s a girl, it’s probably that, a boy who thinks she’s a girl. And the school said, ‘Well, she’s not using the girl’s restroom.’ And so she has now sued to have a right to go in. Now, I submit to you, a parent of three children who are now young adults, a first grader really knows what their sexual identity? I mean it just really shows you how Satan’s plan is working and the destruction that’s going on.
CNN uncovered audio of a separate speech given later that year, in which Mateer appeared to criticize legal efforts to curb conversion therapy—a practice that’s been described as “torture” by those who were forced to participate in it.
For Mateer, however, these torturous efforts were simply examples of “biblical counseling”:
Biblical counselors and therapists, we’ve seen cases in New Jersey and in California where folks have gotten in trouble because they gave biblical counseling and, you know, the issue is always, it’s same sex. And if you’re giving conversion therapy, that’s been outlawed in at least two states and then in some local areas. So they’re invading that area.
Mateer’s rabid antipathy toward LGBTQ rights has hardly been a secret. In 2015, he wrote an opinion piece defending state employees who would not comply with the Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of same-sex marriage. In 2014, he threatened to sue Plano, TX, after its city council passed ordinances banning discrimination on the basis of sexual identity and orientation.
If approved by the Senate, Mateen would serve on the bench for a lifetime appointment.
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