Job Interview Questions About Gay Marriage, Abortion, and Religion Lead to Lawsuit

Back in March, Constable Bobby Gutierrez (sort of like a sheriff) retired, so the commissioners in Williamson County, Texas had to replace him.

They interviewed five candidates and asked them each a series of important, relevant questions:

Are you for or against gay marriage?

Are you pro-life or pro-choice?

Who did you vote for in the last election?

What are your religious beliefs?

Because you have to be a good conservative Christian to be a cop.

What’s even more amazing is that the commissioners saw nothing wrong with that:

When asked about the interview questions in May, Williamson County Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey said those rules don’t apply in this situation.

“In general, this is a process that is different than a normal employment interview because it is an elected position,” Covey said.

“We wanted to make sure the candidate could not only do the job as constable, but also handle the rigor of political life,” Covey said.

The “rigor of political life” must include nepotism since the position ended up going to Kevin Stofle, who had experience as a police officer but who also happened to be the brother-in-law of the commissioners’ attorney. (Coincidence, I’m sure.)

Robert Lloyd, who was interviewed for the position but didn’t get it, is now suing the commissioners (along with Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis, who was also involved in the hiring process) over the illegal line of questioning:

Robert Lloyd

… In a lawsuit filed Monday, Lloyd recounts his answer when he was asked that question about his position on gay marriage.

“I gave the best answer that I felt that I could with the knowledge that the world is changing, people are changing, the US supreme court looks at these cases every day,” Lloyd said.

According to Lloyd, and the lawsuit, one commissioner responded by saying, “If you are appointed as constable, you better come up with a better answer than that.”

“This is so clearly a violation of both federal and state law,” said Jim Harrington with the Texas Civil Rights Project.

It’s worth noting that Lloyd isn’t trying to get any money in this lawsuit; he just wants to make sure the religious-based madness stops.

“My only drive in this is that I want it to be made public, and I want it to be corrected,” he said.

The full lawsuit can be read here (PDF). (Ironically, the lawsuit includes a “Prayer for Relief.”)

This should be an easy case to decide… but it’s Texas, so you never know. Either way, these elected commissioners are about to throw away taxpayer money so that they can hire only “good Christians.” If I lived in Williamson County, I’d be furious.

(Thanks to Lori for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.