Houston Mayor Annise Parker met with clergymen from across the nation yesterday to discuss the city's subpoena of church records tied to Houston's recently passed Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). KHOU reports:
The mayor juggled her schedule Tuesday afternoon to meet with the church leaders after they staged a news conference and prayed outside City Hall, but the meeting apparently didn't change any minds – at least, not yet.
"I don't think the mayor wanted to do the subpoenas," said Alexander Webster, a Russian Orthodox Church leader from Virginia who attended the meeting. "I think she is looking for a way to get out of the subpoenas and find a more positive, reconciling approach."
The clergymen described the meeting as cordial and took pictures with the mayor, but they were unsure about whether she would change her stance on the subpoenas.
"This is not a local Houston issue exclusively, but an affront to every church and pulpit in America," said Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a leader of the Christian Defense Coalition, which is organizing opposition to the subpoenas.
The subpoenas in question were issued after anti-gay activists sued Houston over its rejection of petition signatures intended to force a public referendum on HERO. City attorneys then 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." This set off a firestorm among the religious right, drawing the ire of Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Pat Roberston to name just a few. While Parker has stated that original subpoena was too broad and has since amended the subpoena not to include any mention of sermons, as KHOU notes, "the damage was already done" and the wingnuts had their spin in full swing.
Watch a video on Parker's meeting with the clergymen, AFTER THE JUMP…