Houston Pastor Calls on Mayor Annise Parker to Step Down for Support of Same-Sex Marriage

Houston Pastor Steve Riggle, who has been on a crusade against Mayor Annise Parker since she took office, and last year spearheaded a coalition of clergy demanding that she rescind a sweeping non-discrimination order protecting LGBT people, used his megachurch pulpit over the weekend to demand that she step down over her decision to join dozens of other U.S. mayors in Freedom to Marry's national campaign calling for marriage equality.

RiggleThe Houston Chronicle reports:

Speaking at the congregation's 10 a.m. service, Riggle promised some 3,000 worshippers "the shortest sermon that has ever been preached in this congregation." After reading 25 Bible versions of the Genesis account of marriage as a man "leaving his father and mother and being joined to his wife," Riggle spent the next 50 minutes reading a letter he wrote to Parker last week, summarizing her response and then reading a new letter he has written to the mayor.

Parker responded with a statement:

"Houston is a city supportive of equal rights and tolerant of opposing opinions – a city where individuals may disagree with one another without being personal," said Parker. "I am standing with 160 mayors, including other Texas mayors, who have taken the same public position.My focus remains on creating jobs and building a safer city."

The paper adds that Riggle received "numerous ovations" for his attacks on Parker.

He said that he was not anti-gay nor a "gay-hater," noting that he had prayed with gay people dying of AIDS. "Just because I disagree with the life style choices that people make does not mean that I hate the people who make those choices," Riggle said, as his listeners responded with applause.


  1. SFshawn says

    How can someone with so much verbalized hatred and judgement of gay people still consider themselves not anti-gay or a gay hater? It doesn’t make any sense.
    How anyone can sit in an audience and listen to this idiot for an hour deserves his ignorance,stupidity and bigotry.

  2. Rob says

    Lifestyle and choices….When did he choose to be straight or do we have another Haggert in the making. Quoting from a 5000 year old document that nobody knows who wrote. Another witchdoctor preacher who needs some more money.

  3. nick says

    Another high water mark moment for the Lone Star state-
    Why does God hate Texas Revun-huh? He must-
    he brought the drought to you. Must be all that self-righteous, hate-filled virtriol from the very messengers of his fairytale–
    who knew?

  4. kit says

    I’m with SFSHAWN. I just don’t understand how this man can possibly think that he is not anti-gay. Can someone please explain to me the mental gymnastics that goes into that thought process. I mean, there are things that I’m against (such as the existence of Rush Limbaugh, for example) and I fully recognise that I am anti-Rush Limbaugh. How can he not recognise that he IS, in fact, anti-gay?

  5. Sargon Bighorn says

    I wish the mayor would have used more forceful words in a denunciation of such a Radical Religious extremist. The pastor WAS being personal in his hate of Gay folk. She said nothing to the effect of having “American Values” one of which is equality under the law. Gay folk really need to get smarter in this fight. WE HAVE AMERICAN VALUES and FAMILY VALUES. Why don’t more Gay folk say that? The mayor stood her ground which is great. She has courage.

  6. Daniel Berry, NYC says

    i don’t hate gay people–I love and pray with gay people but it’s okay with me if you discriminate against ’em or beat the krap out of ’em.

  7. JayCee says

    He may not be as dumb as he sounds. This sort of publicity probably gets big donations from people like the G. W. and his brother, the KKK, and lots of old peole that fell for the Christian dogma when it was what the peer group of their time and the continuing capitalist preaching like Garner Ted and Robertson and the rest of that ilk do. Capitalism knows no morals or ethics and this as a basis of his campaign makes more sense and does not have any confusion about it.

  8. bobbyjoe says

    “…noting that he had prayed with gay people dying of AIDS”

    Names, please.

    How much you want to bet Mr. Holier-Than-Sane is a great big liar?

  9. Ozymandias71 says

    “…noting that he had prayed with gay people dying of AIDS”

    Ahh, slick move on his part – to the fundie crowd listening to that, the ‘Gay = AIDS = Deathstyle’ meme was reinforced.

    Mayor Parker’s response was measured and correct. Had she pushed any harder, Riggle would have expertly spun it into a personal attack against his ‘faith’ and how his ‘dialog’ attempt had been met with anger.

    Of course we know his attacks were personal – Mayor Parker *cannot* marry in the state of Texas, and he knows it.

  10. Rance says

    No, you don’t hate the people, you just want to make their lives as miserable as possible. You also want to stoke resentment and possible violence against a sitting elected mayor for her personal opinion.

  11. Keelai says

    I actually grew up going to this church in Houston. And I can say that after I left to go to college I never looked back! At the time their motto was “Come as you are, you’ll be loved.” It was the biggest load of horse manure, more like “Come as you are, and we’ll change you into who we think you should be.” Pastor Riggle was the most unapproachable person in ministry I have ever known. My guess is that donations are down and they needed to pay for a new building or helicopter or something like that.

  12. GregV says

    “…to the fundie crowd listening to that, the ‘Gay = AIDS = Deathstyle’ meme was reinforced.”

    My thoughts, exactly.
    I came out 18 years ago and have lived in a mainly-gay neighborhood for most of the years since then. Thousands of aquaintances I have met since then as well as many of my tightest social circles are gay. And to my knowledge, I have never known anyone who had AIDS, let alone died of it. Most of my gay friends live a lifestyle much healthier than the average American does.

    It seems that in the social circles of fundamentalist pastors, gay people always lead sad lives, cheating on opposite-sex spouses, taking drugs to dull the pain, sneaking around and lying to themselves and others, and then dead at an early age.

    Does it never occur to them that it doesn’t have to be that way, and that maybe the reason that a disprportionate number of the gays in their congregation end up having such horrible lives is that an ignorant and cynical family, church and social circle drives them to unhealthy lives?

  13. pdxblueyesxblueyespx says

    Used his pulpit? is he STOOPID? you can’t be a 501c3 organization and partake in partisan politics – using the pulpit as your message delivery station is a gross violation. if he was turned in or a complaint was registered, he would be in danger of losing his tax exempt status for his church…

  14. Sarm says

    Typical Christian. Can’t handle that you are losing your undeserved power, and now you want a respectable official to resign. I’m sorry, but when I see a spade, or in this case, a typical sleazoid, duplicitious, hate-mongering Christian, I call it such. That fits you to a T, Riggle. Your futile aggression will fall, as it has against others your filthy cult has attacked.

  15. Ninong says

    He looks somewhat like Pastor Ted Haggard, don’t you think? In case you were wondering, Pastor Ted is now 100% Not-Gay. That was just as passing phase in his life but he has recovered nicely. Send more money.

  16. Steve-ATL says

    Stand up against religion. ALWAYS. The worst offenders of homophobia are often religious gays. Give them hell for their hypoicorisy. I love nothing more than challenging religious gays knowing their ideology has been brain washed in them, and it’s often stemmed from insecurity

  17. Triggerc says

    Not only does religion kill, but it’s followers here in the states would too if they could get away with it.

    Having no religion has afforded me the happiest, most free, and loving life I could ever know. It also makes me see how absolutely insane religious folk are, and how absolutely happy I am to not be one.

  18. Oliver says

    Pastor Steve Riggle can say whatever he wants to just as soon as the church starts paying its fair share of taxes. Until then, he needs to stick a holy eucharist in his pie hole.

  19. Tom in long beach says

    Wow. He wasted a whole hour being judgmental about the mayor. Was this a good use of time as a servant of God ? Do these people not understand that separation of church and state allows them to worship the way they choose? and not have it dictated to them by some cardinal or bishop what they must believe ? Yet they want to call the shots for the mayor of a progressive multicultural city ??
    The mayor is a smart woman. She is the one acting in a more gracious manner.

  20. GODISLOVE says


    Clearly, none of you believe in the Word of God and for that I feel sad for you. NO, I am not suggesting that Christians are “better” than any of you, but if you don’t accept that you are here because GOD allowed you to be and realize that He is the Creator and Ruler of all….unfortunately for you, you will not have eternal life after death.

    The greatest decision anyone can ever make in their lives is to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

    Unfortunately for those who “hate Jesus, Christians, reglion, etc.” you may never know the Truth because you are blinding yourself with the hate that is filled in your hearts.

    God teaches His people to LOVE;

    It is Pastor Steve Riggle’s DUTY as a Man of God to uphold The Bible, Love others and introduce everyone to the Ways of the Lord. As it is CLEARLY stated in The Bible: Marriage is to be between one MAN and one WOMAN.

    If you cannot or choose not to see that this is exactly the point Pastor Riggle is attempting to get across, I am sorry; but how much clearer can he be?

    Some of you may not want to admit it, which is totally okay.. but pay close attention and you will realize that those of you who disagree with what Pastor Riggle is taking a stand for (TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE: one MAN, one WOMAN), it is all of YOU who are HATE FILLED.

    There is not one single statement made by Steve Riggle that was a personal attack or that even remotely had ANY form of hate in it.


    The man is doing his job, fulfilling His moral obligation and Duty in the name of the Lord. At the end of the day, YOU WHO DISAGREE, it is not your opinions that matter. As long as Pastor Riggle is OBEYING GOD’S WORD, that’s ALL that truly matters.

    It is EXTREMELY RARE that a person of the Lord who DILIGENTLY SEEKS THE LORD everyday and in every way would treat anyone GAY OR STRAIGHT without Love & Compassion. This is the way of the people of the Lord, to LOVE EVERYONE. But most importantly, it is our moral obligation as People of God to DECLARE and SHARE The Word of God with the WORLD.

  21. Randy says

    Genesis 2:24 only speaks about Adam and his wife Eve having sex because she used to be a bone.

    Sounds to me like this is a good reason for men to get it on with each other. Women of today do not start out as bones.

  22. Jerry6 says

    When are these Christian Ministers and Priests going to realize that beating on Gays, and Gay Marriage keeps us from attending their Churches and putting money in their collection plates? Honey is still the best thing to attract flies.

  23. Jerry6 says

    Hey, Mr. Riggle — Remember “SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE”. Keep your crackpot beliefs and stories about your so called invisible non existent thing up in the sky out of the day-to-day lives of the residents of the State of Texas.

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  25. lucy says

    I have many friends and I don’t dislike people with that lifestyle I just think that she should step down because she supports cops beating people and the simple fact that she is for her kind and makes decisions based on her personal lifestyle I guess if she smoked marijuana she would push that too but I guess this state contradicts them selves

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