Lawyer claims WilCo Commissioners want Baptist employees only

KVUE – by Kris Betts

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — A lawsuit over hiring questions about religion, abortion and marriage in Williamson County got the green light to head to trial this week.

A judge dismissed a request for summary judgement in the case regarding the Williamson County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office.

It all began when Robert Lloyd, a 25-year veteran in law enforcement interviewed for a job as constable in 2013.  

He claims the Williamson County Commissioners asked him illegal questions about his views on gay marriage, religion and abortion.

“I was shocked,” said Lloyd. “I was sick to my stomach when I left because I had never believed that things like this in government would go on.”

He filed a lawsuit against the commissioners for civil rights violations.

“Everybody knows those are illegal employment questions and they never should have been asked,” said Lloyd’s lawyer, Wayne Krause Yang, who is also the director of the Texas Civil Rights Project.

In a deposition video obtained by KVUE through Krause Yang, Williamson County Commissioner Lisa Birkman admits to asking the questions.

“I asked a question on their view on gay marriage to all the applicants for Precinct 3 Constable and their view on abortion,” Birkman said.

So far the county has spent close to $200,000 defending their line of questioning.

“It has been pretty draining but for me; it’s the reason that I got into this, so it doesn’t happen to someone else,” Lloyd said.

His lawyer said commissioners asked the questions about gay marriage, abortion and religion because they are all Baptist and wanted a Baptist candidate.

“If you don’t go to the church that they go to, you can’t have a job as a public employee in Williamson County,” said Krause Yang.

Now a judge will decide what happens, and whether Williamson County will be forced to pay once more in federal court.

Two other people have come forward saying they were also asked those questions when applying for jobs in Williamson County.

The commissioners would not go on camera but did refer KVUE to their lawyer who said they are eager to go before a judge and refute those claims. No court date has been set.

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