The case of a gay Tyler man who sued the Texas Attorney General’s office for employment discrimination comes before the Court of Appeals in Austin this week.
Vic A. Gardner worked for the AG’s child support division for about three years. He received excellent performance reviews until an office Halloween costume party, the suit alleges. When he attended dressed as a geisha girl, his supervisor determined he was gay.
Once his sexual orientation was assumed by the supervisor, he was repeatedly disciplined until he resigned in February, according to his attorney, Jason Smith of Fort Worth.
In a sworn affidavit, the supervisor admitted he had a religious objection to Gardner being gay.
“You are who you are, but try not to be so out,” Smith said his client was told.
Knowing Gardner’s father was a Baptist minister, the supervisor asked Gardner at one point how he could do that to his father.
In October 2010, a lower court judge ruled the AG had immunity from prosecution and dismissed the case. Gardner appealed in November 2010 but withdrew his appeal in January 2011.
Gardner’s new appeal is asking the court to order a jury trial. The AG contends all Gardner can do is ask for reinstatement. Smith said his client is entitled to lost wages and more.