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Ted Cruz Slams Houston Mayor Annise Parker's 'Shocking and Shameful' Subpoena of Anti-gay Pastors: VIDEO

Cruz

Joining the chorus of right-wing figures having a meltdown over the city of Houston's subpoena of local pastors tied to a lawsuit against the city's LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance, Texas Senator Ted Cruz blasted mayor Annise Parker's so-called efforts to "silence prayers."

Said Cruz in a statement:

Parker"The City of Houston’s subpoenas demanding that pastors provide the government with copies of their sermons is both shocking and shameful.  For far too long, the federal government has led an assault against religious liberty, and now, sadly, my hometown of Houston is joining the fight.  This is wrong.  It's unbefitting of Texans, and it's un-American.  The government has no business asking pastors to turn over their sermons.  These subpoenas are a grotesque abuse of power, and the officials who approved them should be held accountable by the people.  The Mayor should be ashamed.  And we should all be proud to stand up and defend the pastors who are resisting these blatant attempts to suppress their First Amendment rights."

Of course, contrary to the narrative that Cruz is trying to cook up, Parker has already acknowledged the subpoenas issued by outside attorneys working for the city pro bono were too broad and were merely being used to find out if there were specific instructions given during sermons about how to fill out the petitions for putting the ordinance up for a public referendum.

Cruz also sat down with Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody to talk about his hopes that this story serves as a "wake-up call" for Christians to realize how America is quickly going down the path towards jailing pastors for speaking out against gay marriage. 

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ted Cruz Slams Houston Mayor Annise Parker's 'Shocking and Shameful' Subpoena of Anti-gay Pastors: VIDEO" »


Right-Wing Freaks Out Over Houston's Subpoena of Pastors' Role in City's Equal Rights Ordinance Case: VIDEOS

Rightwing

Back in August we reported that anti-gay activists in Houston had failed in their efforts to collect enough signatures for a ballot measure that would place Houston's LGBT-inclusive Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) up for a public referendum. The activists (which included local pastors) proceeded to sue the city over the rejection of signatures and a court date was set for January 2015. 

Then, earlier this week, it was revealed city attorneys had subpoenaed local pastors tied to the lawsuit for "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession."

Parker, for her part, acknowledged the subpoenas were too broad and clarified they were issued by outside attorneys working for the city pro bono, New York reports:

ParkerThey were looking into what instructions pastors gave out to those collecting signatures for a referendum on the non-discrimination law. (What exactly the pastors said, and what the collectors knew about the rules, is one of the key issues in pending litigation around whether opponents of the law gathered enough signatures for a referendum.)

"There's no question, the wording was overly broad. But I also think there was some deliberate misinterpretation on the other side," Parker said at a press conference Wednesday. "The goal is to find out if there were specific instructions given on how the petitions should be accurately filled out. It's not about, 'What did you preach on last Sunday?'" 

As you can imagine, right-wing commentators pounced on the story as the latest example of religious liberties being crushed under the supposed tyranny of LGBT equality. 

Check out their crazed, knee-jerk reactions, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Right-Wing Freaks Out Over Houston's Subpoena of Pastors' Role in City's Equal Rights Ordinance Case: VIDEOS" »


Court Battle Over Houston's LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance Pushed Back to January

The court battle over Houston's LGBT non-discrimination ordinance has been pushed back to January 2015, meaning that voters will not be able to vote on the measure this November.

ParkerEarlier this month we reported that anti-gay activists had failed in efforts to collect enough signatures for a ballot measure that would place the city's recently-passed Equal Rights Ordinance up for a public referendum.

Petition backers then proceeded to sue the city.

Houston's News 92 FM reports:

[Judge Robert] Schaffer also moved the ordinance should not be enforced until after that trial, with supporters and opponents in unanimous agreement.

Opponents of the ordinance gathered signatures believing they had enough to get the issue on the ballot.

They came up almost 2,000 names short, according to Houston Mayor Annise Parker and city’s attorney.

On Friday, opponents of the ordinance dropped their request for a temporary injuction that could have triggered a repeal referendum in November. 


Anti-Gay Activists Sue Houston Over Rejection of Petition Signatures to Repeal City's Equal Rights Ordinance

On Monday we reported that anti-gay activists had failed in efforts to collect enough signatures for a ballot measure that would place Houston's recently-passed Equal Rights Ordinance up for a public referendum.

WoodfillNow the petitions backers are suing the city, the Houston Chronicle reports:

Plaintiff and conservative activist Jared Woodfill said his group is asking a state district judge to declare that City Secretary Anna Russell followed her legal duty and verified a sufficient number of signatures to force a referendum before City Attorney David Feldman illegally inserted himself into the process.

***

"If he felt there were underlying problems with the petition then he, like us, has the right to file a lawsuit if he doesn't agree with what the city secretary did," Woodfill said. "Going in before she's ever made the decision and influencing her is inappropriate, it's illegal and we believe the court will agree with us and that folks will have their voices heard in November on this issue."

Feldman declined to comment until he had seen a copy of the lawsuit, but earlier Tuesday disputed the idea that his involvement crossed any ethical or legal lines.

Petitioners were expected to fight the rejection of their signatures. Mayor Annise Parker had no comment about the lawsuit.


Petition to Repeal Houston's LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance Fails

A petition to repeal Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations has failed to gather the necessary signatures to appear on November's ballot.

The ordinance was signed into law back in May by Mayor Annise Parker.

ParkerLone Star Q reports:

The petition needed at least 17,269 valid signatures from registered Houston voters to put a repeal of the ordinance before voters in November.

Opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) claimed to have at least 30,000 valid signatures when they submitted the petition last month. However, a group supporting the ordinance that independently reviewed the signatures determined that it had a maximum of 16,500 valid signatures.

Opponents of the ordinance have vowed to take the city to court if officials determined their petition didn’t have enough valid signatures.


Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance Likely To Be Opposed On November Ballot

Annise-ParkerFor LGBT people in Texas, there may be a major hurdle in the offing. Lone Star Q reports that opponents of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) are claiming they’ve gathered enough signatures to put a repeal on the ballot for Houston voters in May. These opponents say 30,000 of the signatures from city of Houston voters have already been validated — nearly twice the 17,269 signatures required to place the repeal on the ballot in November.

At a press conference yesterday at the City Hall Rotunda, supporters of HERO wore red, showing solidarity. Houston Mayor Annise Parker (pictured) spoke at the Rotunda, and she expressed confidence that voters would “soundly defeat” the initiative come November:

The Houston I know does not discriminate, treats everyone equally and allows full participation by everyone in civic and business life...We don’t care where you come from, the color of your skin, your age, gender, what physical limitations you may have or whom you choose to love.  I am confident voters will soundly defeat any challenge to the ordinance.

For now, the nondiscrimination ordinance stands, protecting Houston citizens from housing/commercial/employment discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or pregnancy.. Before its establishment in May, Houston was the only major American city to not have citywide protections in such matters for LGBT people.

[h/t Lone Star Q]


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