President Trump's nominee for a federal judgeship in Texas once described transgender children as part of “Satan’s plan,” compared homosexuality to bestiality and advocated for gay conversion therapy.
Jeff Mateer’s remarks were made in 2015 in a series of speeches on religion and homosexuality, as reported by CNN's KFile. Before being named the first assistant attorney general of Texas, Mateer served as general counsel at the First Liberty Institute, a religious advocacy group.
Trump in September nominated Mateer to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Critics called his nomination "a gift to anti-LGBT activists."
When speaking about one case involving the parents of a transgender girl who sued her school for preventing her from using the women’s bathroom, Mateer said, “I submit to you, a parent of three children who are now young adults, a first grader really knows what their sexual identity? I mean it just really shows you how Satan's plan is working and the destruction that's going on."
Later in the 2015 speech, Mateer addressed the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, calling it “disgusting.”
“What is the limiting? Why couldn't four people want to get married?” he said. “Why not one man and three women? Or three women and one man? ... I mean, it's disgusting. I've learned words I didn't know. I mean, other than ... my assistants here, have you ever heard the word 'throuple'? 'Throuple,' so that's three people coming together of different sexes, maybe mixed sexes."
Mateer added that "there are people who marry themselves. Somebody wanted to marry a tree. People marrying their pets. It's just like — you know, you read the New Testament and you read about all the things and you think, 'Oh, that's not going on in our community.' Oh yes it is. We're back to that time where debauchery rules."
Mateer has also advocated for conversion therapy to change the sexuality of LGBT people. Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Pediatric Association have spoken out against the practice and said its tactics have no basis in science.
Mateer expressed disappointment that conversion therapy had fallen out of favor.
“Biblical counselors and therapists, we've seen cases in New Jersey and in California where folks have gotten in trouble because they gave biblical counseling and, you know, the issue is always, it's same sex," Mateer said. “And if you're giving conversion therapy, that's been outlawed in at least two states and then in some local areas. So they're invading that area."
Mateer’s statements were made at a conference organized by pastor Kevin Swanson, a religious leader who has argued that the biblical punishment for homosexuality is death.
Mateer has also spoken out against the separation of church and state in America.
During a 2013 conference at the University of St. Thomas Mateer said, "I’ll hold up my hundred-dollar bill and say, ‘For the first student who can cite me the provision in the Constitution that guarantees the separation of church and state verbatim, I’ll give this hundred dollar bill. … It’s not there. … The protections of the First Amendment protect us from government, not to cause government to persecute us because of our religious beliefs.”