A Texas attorney has filed a complaint against a judge over the display of the pride flag in her courtroom.
Express News reports that Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez took the bench in 2019. In her courtroom, she added a pride flag alongside the American and Texas state flags. That display drew the fury of Flavio Hernandez, a San Antonio criminal defense lawyer, who both filed a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct and demanded that Gonzalez recuse herself from any case he might be involved in. Hernandez, a staunch anti-queer activist, has charged that display of the Pride Flag shows a bais against opponents of LGBTQ rights.
Last month, the Commission sided with Hernandez, ordering Judge Gonzalez to remove the pride flag–along with any other item that displayed the rainbow–from her courtroom. Gonzalez, however, has hired an attorney and plans to appeal the decision.
“Judges all over the state of Texas have a right to express their First Amendment rights. They don’t lose that right when they become elected,” Deanna Whitley, Gonzalez’s attorney, said in a statement. “Judges might have a Mothers Against Drunk Driving emblem or they might have a cross or they might have a bible or a flag with a thin blue line. There was no showing that Rosie was, in any ruling, biased in favor of or against anyone.”
In recent months, Texas has become a hotbed of debate over public officials refusing to serve LGBTQ Americans. Waco Justice of the Peace Dianne Hensley filed a lawsuit in December to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. In November, audio of the Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen leaked online, capturing the Speaker referring to his political opponents as “gay” while bargaining for campaign contributions with a lobbyist.