Jeff Mateer, President Donald Trump’s nominee for federal judge in Texas and a top official in the Texas attorney general’s office, has come under fire after CNN reported Wednesday that he called transgender children evidence of satanic influence and argued that gay marriage could lead to bestiality and multiple-partner weddings.
The quotes from Mateer were taken from two 2015 speeches given while he was general counsel for Liberty Institute, a legal advocacy group that operates from a conservative Christian perspective and is now known as First Liberty Institute.
In a May 2015 talk on “The Church and Homosexuality” to Christian pastors and church leaders, Mateer addressed what he called the elephant in the room — “homosexuality and the agenda that this small group is seeking and imposing on the rest of us.”
Mateer criticized Colorado parents who sued a school for refusing to let their transgender daughter use the girl’s bathroom.
“Now, I submit to you, a parent of three children who are now young adults — but still, a first-grader really knows what their sexual identity (is)? I mean, it just shows you how Satan’s plan is working and the destruction that’s going on,” he said.
Mateer also said advocates of same-sex marriage espoused an “anything goes” mentality that could lead to disturbing changes in accepted matrimonial practices.
“Why couldn’t four people want to get married? Why not one man and three women, or three women and one man?” he asked. “I mean, it’s disgusting.”
“There are people who are marrying themselves. Somebody wanted to marry a tree. People marrying their pets. I mean, it’s just like — you know, you read the New Testament and you read about all the things and you think, ‘That’s not going on in our community.’ Oh yes it is. We’re back to that time where debauchery rules,” Mateer said.
In a separate speech in November 2015, CNN reported that Mateer expressed support for conversion therapy, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation, often through religious means — a practice that leading psychiatric, medical and pediatric organizations have criticized as harmful.
Mateer criticized California and New Jersey officials for banning conversion therapy, which he described as “biblical counseling,” at a conference hosted by Kevin Swanson, a pastor who preaches that the Biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, CNN said.
“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,” said Mateer, who couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.
Trump nominated Mateer, the top executive in Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office, on Sept. 7 to be a U.S. district judge in Plano.
Sharon McGowan with Lambda Legal, an LGBT legal advocacy group, said Mateer’s statements show an “extreme hostility toward the LGBT community.”
“Unfortunately, the nomination of someone with Mateer’s explicitly homophobic and transphobic record can no longer be described as shocking,” McGowan said. “Rather, it’s part of a larger pattern of actions by this administration that seek to turn back the clock with respect to the progress that this country has made on issues of LGBT equality.”
Senate confirmation is needed before Mateer can take a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. The Senate Judiciary Committee has not yet acted on his nomination.