Jeff Mateer, a high-ranking official in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office whom President Donald Trump has nominated for a federal judgeship, said in speeches in 2015 that transgender children are part of "Satan's plan" and argued same-sex marriage would open the floodgates for "disgusting" forms of marriage, according to CNN.

"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," Mateer said in a May 2015 speech first reported by CNN, referencing a Colorado lawsuit that involved a transgender girl's parents suing her school for prohibiting her from using the restroom she preferred. "I mean it just really shows you how Satan's plan is working and the destruction that's going on." 

In the same speech, Mateer also criticized the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage as taking the nation back to a time of "debauchery." 

"I mean, it's disgusting," he said. "I've learned words I didn't know. There are people who marry themselves. Somebody wanted to marry a tree. People marrying their pets. It's just like — you know, you read the New Testament and you read about all the things and you think, 'Oh, that's not going on in our community.' Oh yes it is. We're going back to that time where debauchery rules."

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Last week, Trump nominated Mateer as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Paxton and Mateer's office did not respond to The Texas Tribune's request for comment.

Sharon McGowan with the LGBT legal advocacy group Lambda Legal called Mateer's nomination the "latest slap in the face with respect to the LGBT community" in a news release Wednesday, and said advocates were working to "sound the alarm across the country to ensure Americans know the dangers of these nominations." 

Mateer, who joined Paxton's office in 2016, has a long record of championing religious expression in the public eye. Before his stint as Texas' first assistant attorney general, he spent six years heading the legal team at the First Liberty Institute, a Plano-based conservative legal defense foundation with a history of pursuing cases involving government entities engaged in disputes over religious liberty.

The group (which added “First” to its name in 2016) sued an East Texas high school last year for preventing cheerleaders from carrying banners with bible verses during athletic events. It also waged a battle in 2015 against an ordinance enacted by the city of Plano that extended anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Mateer was one of five Texas judicial nominations Trump made last week and among two with ties to the First Liberty Institute. Trump's other Texas nominations were:

  • Matthew Kacsmaryk, a deputy general counsel to the First Liberty Institute, to be a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
  • Walter David Counts III, a United States Magistrate Judge, to be a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. 
  • Fernando Rodriguez, who currently works as a field office director for International Justice Mission in the Dominican Republic, to serve as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
  • Karen Gren Scholer, a partner at Carter Scholer PLLC in Dallas, to be a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • Jeff Mateer, tapped by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in 2016 amid a staffing shakeup, has built his career as a tenacious champion of religious expression in the public square. [Full story]

  • Before his recent nominations, the Trump administration faced 17 legal vacancies in Texas. [Full story]

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