Judge compares gay people to paedophiles as he sues for the right to be a homophobe in public
Texas judge Brian Keith Umphress decided that the middle of a national emergency seems like the right time to sue for the right to be homophobic in public, while comparing his anti-gay beliefs to dislike for paedophiles.
On Wednesday, the Jack County District judge filed a lawsuit against the State Commission on Judicial Conduct – arguing that it violates the civil rights of judges to punish them for public stating “disapproval” of “homosexual conduct”.
The lawsuit comes after another Texas judge, justice of the peace Diane Hensley, launched her own legal challenge after receiving a formal warning over her vow to only marry heterosexual couples.
However, Umphress goes further than Hensley by not limiting his dispute to same-sex marriage – also arguing that judges should be free to make their disapproval of “homosexual conduct” known without conduct.
In the lawsuit, the elected judge explains that he is “engaged in numerous extra-judicial activities that evince disapproval of homosexual behaviour, same-sex marriage, and the Supreme Court’s ruling in [equal marriage case] Obergefell” – citing his church’s belief that “homosexual conduct of any sort is immoral and contrary to Holy Scripture”.
Judge Brian Umphress’ lawsuit compares homophobia to disliking paedophiles.
The lawsuit contends that it “violates the constitutional rights of judges” to in any way hold anti-gay beliefs against him – comparing such views to a dislike for paedophiles.
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Brian Umphress’ suit contends: “Nearly every judge disapproves of polygamy, prostitution, pederasty, and pedophilia. A judge who holds these beliefs – either on religious or non-religious grounds – has not compromised his impartiality toward litigants who engage in those behaviours.
“It is absurd to equate a judge’s disapproval of an individual’s behaviour as undermining the judge’s impartiality toward litigants who engage in that conduct.”
The suit adds: “The commission must explain why a judge who expresses disapproval of homosexual conduct should be treated differently from a judge who expresses disapproval of other controversial sexual behaviours.
“Expressing disapproval homosexual behaviour may not be as fashionable as it once was, but if the commission is singling out this speech or conduct because it no longer accords with politically correct opinion, then that is the very definition of arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.”
Lawsuit seeks an unlimited license for homophobia
Brian Umphress is demanding a permanent injunction which would bar the State Commission on Judicial Conduct from ever investigating a judge over their beliefs about “homosexual conduct” -–effectively seeking an unlimited license for homophobic behaviour.
Tellingly, the lawsuit happens to mention that Umphress “will be seeking re-election in 2022, and he intends to campaign for office as an opponent of same-sex marriage”..
Republican Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has already sided with Hensley over her legal challenge, making clear he will refuse to defend the actions of the judicial commission.