Parker appoints gay attorney as Houston judge

Add this share

Mayor Annise Parker appointed a gay Houston attorney and LGBT activist as a municipal judge, at least the second openly LGBT attorney she's named to the bench. 

Parker appointed Jerry Simoneaux to the two-year term on Wednesday. In 2010, Parker appointed transgender attorney and activist Phyllis Frye – a former law partner of Simoneaux – as an associate Municipal Court judge. Frye was the first transgender judge in Texas.

Judge Barbara Hartle, the presiding judge of Houston's Municipal Courts, said Simoneaux was selected after a judicial screening process. Simoneaux declined to comment about his appointment.

Simoneaux, who has more than 13 years experience in estate planning, wills, probate litigation and guardianships, is a former staff attorney for a Harris County probate court judge. He's also a certified mediator.

Last year, Simoneaux was among several gay candidates who ran for judicial posts across Harris County. He lost to Republican Rory Robert Olsen for a County Probate Court judgeship.

“I believe our courts should be fair, efficient, and compassionate, but never political. Fair to all parties—no exceptions,” Simoneaux told Outsmart during the campaign.

In 2014, Simoneaux was a finalist for Best Attorney in Outsmart's Gayest & Greatest awards. He won the award in 2007 with Mitchell Katine. Simoneaux also helped launch the Foundation for Family & Marriage Equality, a Houston group started in 2002 to promote marriage rights for LGBT couples. 

Simoneaux, a wills and estate lawyer, operates the Simoneaux Law Firm with offices on Greenway Plaza and in the Heights. For nearly seven years, Simoneaux and Frye worked together in a firm specializing in real estate, property tax issues and estate planning. 

Simoneaux has also used his legal experience on LGBT issues, chairing the LGBT law section of the State Bar of Texas in 2005-06 and leading the AIDS Outreach Committee of the Houston Bar Association in 2003-04. 

[Montrose Center | photo courtesy Simoneaux]


Project Q Atlanta goes on hiatus after 14 years

On Sept. 1, 2008, Project Q Atlanta promised a hyper-local “queer media diet” for Atlanta. The site set out to bring LGBTQ news, in-depth...

Photos catch Purple Dress Run invading Midtown

After three years of pandemic-inflicted limitations, Atlanta’s gay rugby squad let loose on one of its most popular events. The Atlanta Bucks Purple Dress...

Ooo Bearracuda: Photos from Bear Pride’s Main Event

The seventh annual Atlanta Bear Pride hit the ground running on Friday with packed houses at Woofs, Heretic and Future. Turned out, they hadn’t...

Atlanta Bear Pride set to go hard and long all weekend

That low, growing growl you hear is a nation of gay bears headed for Atlanta Bear Pride this weekend. By the time they arrive,...

PHOTOS: Armorettes bring back Easter Drag Race magic

Gay Atlanta’s queens of do-good drag brought the sunshine to a cloudy afternoon on Saturday when Heretic hosted the triumphant return of Armorettes Easter...