A Texas judge who made a point of displaying a gay flag, other gay-rainbow-themed items and a traditional Mexican cloth in her courtroom has been forced to remove those displays of bias by the Texas State Commission on Judicial conduct.
Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez, an overt lesbian, said she was forced to remove the rainbow pride flag after a local defense lawyer filed a complaint with the state panel.
Gonzalez said the agency, which handles allegations of judicial misconduct, required that she also remove a pen, glasses 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, as if U.S. courtrooms were intended for the self-expression of judges. She presides over Bexar County Court 13 in San Antonio. “It felt like a kick in the gut.”
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct told NBC News it could neither confirm nor deny anything related to the issue because of “confidentiality rules.”
Flavio Hernandez said it was he who filed complaints against Gonzalez with both the Bexar County Court and the state commission in August, saying that he was “grieved” when “confronted by a rainbow flag prominently displayed” in the 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.”
While the complaint filed with the commission is not available to the public and was not provided to NBC News by any of the parties involved, Hernandez shared a copy of the motion that he said he filed with the court. In it, he called Gonzalez’s courtroom conduct “extremely repugnant” and said the judge’s rainbow flag violates the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.