The state of Texas has ordered a lesbian judge to remove her Pride Flag from her courtroom, after an attorney accused her of bias.
Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez became a judge at the County Court at Law in January 2019. Indeed, she is the first openly gay judge elected in Bexar County which contains the city of San Antonio.
So to honor the LGBT+ community she placed a Rainbow Flag alongside the US and Texas flags behind her bench.
In fact, the flag she put on display was a special one. The Orgullo de San Antonio, the local LGBTQ council of the League of United Latin American Citizens presented it to her.
Sadly, not everyone appreciated the gesture of solidarity, respect and inclusion.
Gonzalez’s flag angered Flavio Hernandez, a San Antonio criminal defense attorney.
In April 2019, Hernandez filed a motion to stop Gonzalez presiding over any case he handled. Moreover, he filed a complaint about the Pride Flag with Texas’ State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
‘A virus sweeping through our nation’
Hernandez told the San Antonio Express News:
‘I may not be able to turn the dark tide of immorality sweeping through our nation like a virus. But in my small way, I voiced my support of traditional American family values.’
Now the State Commission has sided with him.
It issued a private warning to Gonzalez telling her to take the flag down. In it, the commission stated the flag made her look biased.
Moreover, it told her to remove all signs of the LGBT+ supporting rainbow from her court. Not just the flag but her rainbow pen, rainbow mouse pad and glasses with rainbow colors on the sides all had to go.
However, Gonzalez plans to appeal that decision.
Deanna Whitley is Gonzalez’s attorney. She said:
‘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.
‘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.’
Meanwhile, the San Antonio Express News has emerged as an ally. It said:
‘It’s not about a judge displaying a flag in her courtroom. It’s about her voicing solidarity with a community that Hernandez regards as a virus infecting our hearts and souls.
‘It’s not necessarily stunning that a solitary member of the legal community would launch a take-down-that-flag crusade. It is stunning, however, that the commission which oversees judges in this state actually agreed with him.’