Just months before becoming president of the anti-gay group Texas Values, Jonathan Saenz’ wife left him for another woman, according to divorce records filed in Hays County, Texas.
The revelation could help explain Saenz’s seemingly abrupt transformation from socially conservative lobbyist to homophobic firebrand.
Saenz, a devout Catholic, has been a right-wing operative in Texas for many years — working on abortion and religious liberty cases as a staff attorney for the Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute as far back as 2005.
However, it wasn’t until recently that Saenz emerged as one of the state’s best-known — and most extreme — anti-LGBT voices.
Court records indicate that Saenz’s ex-wife, Corrine Morris Rodriguez Saenz, is a member of the LGBT community who was dating another woman when she filed for divorce from Saenz in August 2011.
In early 2012, with their divorce still pending, Saenz would take the helm of Texas Values after the organization spun off from the Liberty Legal Institute, where he’d risen to chief lobbyist.
With Saenz as president, Texas Values has led the charge against not only same-sex marriage, but also passage of LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in San Antonio and Houston.
Lone Star Q notes that during the divorce, Saenz unsuccessfully sought to permanently bar his ex-wife’s girlfriend from being in the presence of the children, and at one point sought to jail his ex-wife for failing to undergo an evaluation by a psychologist of his choosing.
Earlier this year, Saenz said gay activists are trying to put Christians in “concentration camps” if they disagree with marriage equality and “the homosexual lifestyle.”