The attorney who is representing the first two cases filed with the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance has submitted an application to fill the interim city council seat left vacant after Diego Bernal resigned to run for the State Legislature.
Justin P. Nichols is one of two openly gay applicants who are seeking the District 1 council seat. The other is Chris Forbrich. A total of fourteen people applied for the position.
Nichols graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2007 with a major in political science. He is a past president of the Teen Court Association of Texas.
He earned his law degree from St. Mary’s University Law School in 2012. While in law school, he was a member of the St. Mary’s Law Journal and a national liaison for the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division.
In 2008, Nichols was the youngest candidate, and the first openly gay one, to run for the Plano, Texas city council. In that race, he was endorsed by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
Plano city council races are nonpartisan. However, the Dallas Voice reported that Nichols served on the executive committee of the Collin County Republican Party and was a delegate to two GOP state conventions.
“I am known for being out front with people and being able to sit down and talk to anybody,” said Nichols, who serves as teen court coordinator for Collin County. “Plano is conservative and it is traditional, but I think people realize that you can be those things and be gay.”
“. . . true conservatism means limited government, and that includes staying out of your wallet and staying out of your home,” said Nichols, who also noted that he’s not relying on the gay vote to get elected. “It often surprises me that so many in the GLBT community identify themselves as Democrats, when so often what they’re wanting is for the government to stay out of things.”
Nichols lost the race but told the media he planned to stay involved in public service and it was only “a matter of time” before he would run again.
He moved to San Antonio to attend law school. After graduating, he opened his law firm, The Nichols Law Firm, PLLC. In an article last October on the Out in SA website, reporter Murphi Cook wrote:
One of the few litigation firms in San Antonio that actively seeks LGBT clients, the Nichols Law Firm strives “to make sure our clients have an enjoyable, comfortable, and even fun experience at our office.”
The firm, located in downtown San Antonio, is uniquely equipped to serve the LGBT community in a variety of matters, including family issues, discrimination claims, partnership planning, or business services.
Nichols’ firm garnered media attention locally after he announced he was representing the nondiscrimination case of Matthew Hileman, a transgender man who says he was unfairly fired from AT&T.
Last summer, he took on the case of Marciela Fonseca and her girlfriend Gina Ramirez who say they were ejected from a local bar because they had kissed.
Most recently, Nichols was on the cover and in a photo shoot for the November print edition of Out in SA. He is also an Out in SA advertiser.