One of the Texas lawmakers who fled the state in order to avoid voting on a controversial election integrity confirmed that she also traveled to Portugal.
Rep. Jessica Gonzalez addressed the controversy for the first time Tuesday in a statement to The Dallas Morning News, confirming she traveled to Portugal to get married on August 7 and didn’t address reports at the time due to privacy concerns.
“We all say family comes first,” Gonzalez, who married her fiancée Angela Hale, said in the statement. “That value should apply to all families, including mine. I made the decision not to share where I was so that my wife and I could get married in privacy. I wanted us to have this special day, surrounded by a few of our friends and loved ones.”
Gonzalez said she returned to the United States from Portugal on August 11.
Gonzalez was criticized by Republicans in her state as well as on social media for traveling to Portugal while her Democratic colleagues were supposed to be in Texas voting on a Republican bill aimed at combating voter fraud.
At the time, Gonzales declined to confirm or deny whether reports of her traveling to Portugal and said via text message, “No one has shown proof.”
“I can’t apologize for getting married to the person I love, but I know there are some who, in good faith, have criticized the timing of this decision, and I am sorry if doing so now distracted for even one moment from our vital work to protect democracy,” Gonzales said. “I remain dedicated to fighting for the basic freedoms and unalienable rights of all Texans.”
Gonzalez was one of the Texas Democrats who flew to Washington, D.C. last month in order to hold press conferences and meet with Democratic lawmakers about voting rights rather than vote during the Texas legislature’s special session.
The group of Democrats were widely maligned by conservatives on social media for traveling to the nation’s capital on a private jet without masks, and at least six of the Democrats contracted the coronavirus.