Jonathan Saenz, a conservative Catholic attorney, is perhaps best known for his position as the president of Texas Values, an anti-LGBT, anti-abortion group in the Lone Star State. However, Saenz has recently become famous on popular websites like Reddit for another reason: it was recently revealed that Saenz accepted his leadership role at Texas Values only months after his ex-wife divorced him to be with her girlfriend.
In August 2011, Corrine Morris Rodriguez Saenz filed for divorce after nearly 10 years of marriage, which had resulted in two children. In the court case that followed, Saenz filed a divorce counter petition, discovery requests, and issued subpoenas seeking information on Rodriquez’s relationship with a woman named Ercimin Paredes. Paredes and Rodriguez were both teachers at Becker Elementary School in Austin, Texas, and court documents show that Saenz accused of Rodriguez of committing adultery as early as Fall 2010. In May 2013, Saenz also attempted to have Paredes banned from being in the presence of the Saenz children.
The couple’s divorce was finalized last year, after multiple attempts by Saenz to uncover information on Rodriguez’s relationship with her girlfriend and at least one attempt to have Paredes barred from the courtroom. The ironic nature of the separation was originally reported by Lone Star Q, a Texas-based LGBT news source, but quickly spread through other avenues, including Reddit’s “Not the Onion” forum. Since the news was reported, Saenz has been active on his Twitter account, but has yet to comment on the story.
“I’ve actually seen this exact scenario, I see this a lot with heterosexual married couples where a woman decides to leave the marriage for another woman,” says Michelle Julyan, Julyan Law Firm, PLLC located in Raleigh, NC. “A common variable I see in these situations is that there is usually some time of abuse in the relationship – either physical or emotional. There is almost always a power issue where the husband feels emasculated when this happens.”
Saenz’s organization, Texas Values, identifies itself as a group focused on preserving and furthering “family values” in the state of Texas. In his time as president, Saenz has established himself as a vocal opponent of marriage equality and a supporter of controversial gay conversion therapy. He has famously suggested that community encouragement of same-sex marriage could also apply to polygamy or incest, and could land thousands of pastors in jail.