Anti-gay Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has named Jeff Mateer, former general counsel for the anti-LGBT Liberty Institute, as his top assistant.
Mateer is a well-known anti-LGBT activist who once defended Paxton’s lawless opinion encouraging county clerks and justices of the piece to defy the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.
At the Liberty Institute, which recently changed its name to First Liberty, Mateer’s clients included Sweet Cakes owners Aaron and Melissa Klein, Air Force Sgt. Philip Monk and former Fox Sports analyst Craig James. Now, the taxpayers of Texas will be paying Mateer to come up with new ways to discriminate against the state’s LGBT residents, according to a report from The Texas Observer.
“I do view it as an indication that the attorney general is all in or doubling down on efforts to try and legitimize discrimination under the guise of religious liberty,” Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith told me. “My guess is that the attorney general is bringing him on to look at legislative avenues that might allow religious liberty to be used as a means to allow for discrimination against LGBT Texans. I think that’s the most likely reason that he’s been hired.”
Paxton, of course, once filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent gay workers from taking unpaid leave to care for their sick spouses.
Following the high court’s marriage ruling, Paxton not only issued the lawless opinion that led to an ethics investigation against him, but also refused to issue accurate birth and death certificates to same-sex couples until a federal judge threatened to hold him in contempt.
Paxton is currently facing first-degree felony charges related to alleged securities fraud, which carry a penalty of up to life in prison. But Mateer would undoubtedly argue that the charges against Paxton are just another example of government officials persecuting Christians. Listen to a clip of Mateer speaking at a religious liberties conference last year below.