Although Houston’s mayor, Annise Parker, is now denying she knew about the city’s attempt to subpoena the sermons and correspondence with their congregations of five pastors, one of the pastors at the center of the battle says the mayor herself initiated the action in response to a legal battle over a non-discrimination ordinance known as the “Bathroom Bill.”
Dave Welch, who is the executive director of the Houston area U.S. Pastor Council, is one of the five pastors who received a subpoena. Parker, who has participated in both gay and atheist activism, and the city are now back peddling from the subpoenas and blaming it on the law firm they hired, Welch told The Christian Post.
“This was really initiated by Mayor Annise Parker, who is obviously a noted, kind of, poster child for the national gay and lesbian movement, proposing this ordinance back in April that was really a massive overreach to begin with to basically add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the city’s discrimination ordinance and impose those discrimination protections over the private sector in an unprecedented way,” Welch explained.
The subpoenas were issued by Houston’s city attorney in response to the lawsuit filed by opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, that allow men and women who identify as transgender or opposite sex to use the facilities such as restrooms of their choice.
Welch told CP that a petition was started by those opposed to the ordinance and although 50,000 signatures were gathered and 31,000 were pre-verified by the group, the city attorney intervened and said half were invalid after submission. The opponents of the ordinance then filed a lawsuit against the city.
“The petition was to have required the city council to repeal the ‘equal rights’ ordinance in its entirety or put it on the ballot to vote,” Welch said. “They issued subpoenas to pastors that are not even privy to the lawsuit.”
Welch explained that the situation, which has now garnered national attention, has come to this point because churches in the Houston area “effectively rose up and did what the law allows us to do — petition our government to challenge this ordinance on the ballot.”
Source: Christian Post | ALEX MURASHKO