A Texas judge said she was forced to remove a rainbow pride flag displayed in her courtroom after a local defense lawyer filed a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which investigates allegations of judicial misconduct.
Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez, an out lesbian, said the agency ordered her to also remove a pen, eyeglasses and a mouse pad with rainbow patterns, along with a serape, a colorful traditional Mexican cloth.
“It felt like they were trying to shame me and bully me into not expressing who I truly am,” said Gonzalez, who presides over Bexar County Court 13 in San Antonio.
“It felt like a kick in the gut,” she said.
Flavio Hernandez, who confirmed that he filed complaints against Gonzalez with both the Bexar County Court and the state commission in August, said he was “grieved” when “confronted by a rainbow flag prominently displayed” in her courtroom and could not “in good conscience” submit himself or his clients “to the implied authority of this unofficial flag symbolizing the Judge’s personal bias.”
“Other flags expressing personal bias such as white supremacy (swastikas), or black slavery (confederacy) are also divisive and inappropriate symbols in our courtrooms,” Hernandez said in a written statement. “I may not be able to turn the dark tide of legalized immorality infecting our nation like a virus, but in my small way, I voiced my support of traditional American family values.”
In a copy of the complaint shown to NBC News, Hernandez called Gonzalez’s courtroom conduct “extremely repugnant” and said the judge’s rainbow flag violates the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.
“By prominently displaying the flag of her private bias on the bench of the courtroom,” the motion states, Gonzalez “abuses her power and office in causing all citizens under her influence, including our citizens who do not share her views, to submit themselves to the symbol of her preferred sexual orientation.”
Gonzalez plans to appeal the decision. Her attorney told the San Antonio Express News that judges don’t lost their First Amendment rights when they’re elected.