Houston’s Openly Lesbian Mayor Says She Did Not Know About Sermon Subpoenas

Parker pdHOUSTON — Houston’s openly lesbian mayor says that she did not know that attorneys for the city had requested copies of sermons from several area pastors in light of a lawsuit that was filed surrounding the city’s rejection of an initiative pertaining to a recently-passed “bathroom bill.”

As previously reported, Mayor Annise Parker had promoted an “Equal Rights Ordinance” earlier this year designed to quell any discrimination in America’s fourth largest city—including any discrimination on the basis of “gender identity.” Most opponents were especially concerned about the “Public Accommodations” section of the ordinance, which would allow men to use women’s restrooms, and vice versa, if they identity with the opposite sex.

“It shall be unlawful for any place of public accommodation or any employee or agent thereof to intentionally deny any person entry to any restroom, shower room, or similar facility if that facility is consistent with and appropriate to that person’s expression of gender identity,” the ordinance states.

The only stipulation, according to the ordinance, is that people who use the opposite sex’s facilities must dress, behave, and clothe themselves in a way that is “consistent with the gender designation of the facility the person attempt[s] to access.”

In June, Houston City Council passed the bill, resulting in the creation of an initiative signed by area residents who requested that either City Council repeal the ordinance or that it place the matter on the ballot for voters to decide. According to WND, over 55,000 signatures were submitted, and City Secretary Anna Russell confirmed in writing that 17,846 were acceptable. The minimum required by the city for a referendum is 17,269. Although Russell acknowledged that the submission was over nearly 600 votes about the minimum, Mayor Parker and the city attorney rejected it.

In August, those behind the initiative, which included area pastors, filed a lawsuit against the city over its rejection of the signatures and the referendum in general. In response, pro bono attorneys for the City of Houston subpoenaed several area pastors not a party to the lawsuit, and issued discovery requests seeking “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.”

National uproar was quickly generated about the matter, and now Parker is speaking out, saying that she did not know the attorneys issued the discovery requests and that she agrees the scope of the request was too broad.

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“Mayor Parker agrees with those who are concerned about the city legal department’s subpoenas for pastor’s sermons,” City spokesperson Janice Evans told reporters this week. “The subpoenas were issued by pro bono attorneys helping the city prepare for the trial regarding the petition to repeal the new Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in January. Neither the mayor nor City Attorney David Feldman were aware the subpoenas had been issued until yesterday.”

“Both agree the original documents were overly broad,” she continued. “The city will move to narrow the scope during an upcoming court hearing. Feldman says the focus should be only on communications related to the HERO petition process.”

Initial reports about the matter stated that the purpose of obtaining copies of the sermons were to see if the subpoenaed pastors had ever spoken against the city or the ordinance, but officials claim that misinformation has been generated about the issue. They explain that attorneys had requested the sermons to see if pastors had provided instructions on properly completing the petitions, as the focus of the lawsuit is on the rejection of the initiative and many of the signatures that had been collected.

“If the five pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game,” Parker Tweeted on Wednesday before appearing at a press release about the matter. “Were instructions given on filling out anti-HERO petition?”

City Attorney David Feldman made similar statements to the Houston Chronicle.

“Feldman said the pastors made their sermons relevant to the case by using the pulpit to do political organizing,” the publication reported. “That included encouraging congregation members to sign petitions and help gather signatures for equal rights ordinance foes, who largely take issue with the rights extended to gay and transgender residents.”

But the legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) says that it is not just the requests for the sermons that concern them—it is the subpoenas themselves since they involve those who are not even a party to the lawsuit.

“The way to fix this is to withdraw the subpoenas entirely,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “Otherwise, the city’s and the mayor’s overtures are simply more window-dressing intended to shield them from public scrutiny.”

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  • Run as a 501c3, and be beholden to your government. “Give unto Caesar that which is Caeser’s, and unto God that which is God’s.” Get out of 501c3, pay your taxes, and preach the whole truth of the Gospel. Stop letting money drive the pulpit, or this is the kind of nonsense that you will get.

    Churches need to be places of God, led by the men of God, supported by the people of God. There’s no 501c3 mentioned in the Bible.

    • Charles McLaughlin

      Huh? Not only is 501C3 not mentioned in the Bible, it’s also not mentioned in t;his article. Neither is money. So your comment is totally out of context, and makes no sense. What does an article about men using women’s bathrooms (and vice versa) have to do with paying taxes?

      • Being 501c3 is what limits what pastors can and cannot say in churches. It’s what makes them not allowed to speak about politics from the pulpit. It makes them irrelevant to today’s society. Pastors are supposed to speak about what’s going on in society. By being 501c3, it gives the government control over them, and allows them to subpoena their sermons.

        HERO is immorality being pushed on the people through political means. If a pastor can’t speak out against immorality because it’s being pushed through political avenues and he preaches at a 501c3 church, he has effectively made himself irrelevant.

        • Eddie Preas

          Matthew 17:25-27New International Version (NIV)

          25 “Yes, he does,” he replied.When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?”26 “From others,” Peter answered.“Then the children are exempt,”Jesus said to him. 27 “But so that we may not cause offense,go to the lake and throw out 

      • The constitution already guarantees religious freedom for churches. The 501c3 therefore is a useless document which actually re-classifies all those who opt-in as “tax exempt organizations” thus takes away the protected status of a church as a religious organization and makes it simply a tax exempt one- subject to ALL of the rules and regulations of the United States Gov’t. Therefore, if the gov’t makes a law which requires all 501c3 organizations to submit all of their materials to the US Gov’t for review- they would have to do so or face severe penalties.

    • Eddie Preas

      The bible also does not talk about voting and other things that we have been bleesed with in this country because in the beginning it was founded on God, they at that time were not given choices, however since the beginning of this country our founder’s wanted to honor God by making the church tax free, and if you think the church paying taxes is going to keep a perverse government from trying to shut down the churches you really don’t understand what’s happening today, futher more Jesus said render unto Caesar’s what Caesar, because what other choice did they have go to war? With Roam? It was not a democracy. Jesus wasnt saying paying taxes was right he just wasn’t advocating war. But in matthew 17: 25-27 Jesus does say its not right for the children to pay taxes.

      • No, I don’t think it will keep the government out. It never has, it never will. But why give them such a foothold as 501c3 gives them? Being a 501c3 invites the government in to shut down the Truth. “Let us do evil that good may come? God forbid.”

        Jesus is telling them, if you’re using Caesar’s money, then pay Caesar’s taxes. It doesn’t have anything to do with going to war. If you’re under a government, abide by that government. Peter later goes on to say, “We ought to obey God rather than man.” You obey government until government stops being what its purpose is, which is equal protection of the people, whatever form that takes, being democracy, autocracy, oligarchy, etc… When government becomes tyranny, it no longer protects the people, but abuses them, and the people have just cause to rise against its government. A strong man armed keeps his house. In this case, a strong civilian population armed, keeps their society. I am no pacifist, and Jesus isn’t either.

        He speaks common sense. Common sense says, don’t give government a voluntary foothold because they’ll pervert the Truth. That’s what has happened down through the centuries, and will continue to happen. That’s why the reformation happened. That’s why pilgrims fled Europe. That’s why the Chinese house church disobeys the Chinese government. You do what is right, because it is right.

  • Charles McLaughlin

    Our founding fathers passed the First Amendment specifically to prevent the government from suppressing people’s right to publicly speak out in dissent. The First Amendment protects both the right to free speech and freedom of religion. But it seems the liberals now want to bring law suits against pastors who use their freedom to speak out against government policies. The First Amendment’s “religious clause” was designed to keep government out of religion, not vice versa! Apparently, now any time a pastor speaks out against the immorality of homosexuality, it’s considered politics. But either way, the First Amendment was supposed to protect people’s right to speak out without government in
    timidation or interference.

  • Lesli Spice

    Maybe you are right. Maybe it’s worth giving up the tax exempt status. However, this was not against or for any candidate running for an election. I think the 501c3 only prohibits action which would be for or against a candidate running in an election.

  • Gary

    The mayor knows about the subpoenas now. Is she doing anything to have them withdrawn? If not, then she agrees with them. This is what happens when you vote immoral people into office.

    • Sal Garcia

      You are right, and it is just getting worse. I thought Texas was a more conservative state.

  • Mark

    Mayor Parker you are what is WRONG with USA. Homosexual is Wrong for the world. If you cannot take the teaching of the bible on a discussing perverted act, why do you do it. Why do you think you are so special, why homosexual’s are forcing the church to marry you. If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen.

  • The fact that Mayor Parker is gay is irrelevant. This is a story of good lawyering — nothing else. ( http://www.slowlyboiledfrog.com/2014/10/holy-crap-houston-hoax-is-spreading.html ). This is the kabuki that plays out in litigation across the country every day.

    As defendants attorneys for the city have issued subpoenas to pastors for non-privileged discovery. They have probably cast too wide a net. That is what lawyers do. Other lawyers are objecting to the scope of the subpoenas. That is what lawyers do. The judge presiding over this case will have to decide what is fair game. That is what judges do. In the end, nobody dies.

    • Oshtur

      More of your demented nonsense.

    • Ken M

      On the contrary, her being a lesbian is very relevant, it’s obvious she has a vendetta against Christians.

  • elizabeth cohen

    LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE. How do these government officials get the constitution so wrong? And yet people vote them in that has to say something.

  • ew7

    So what if you are gay !!! I am a sinner just like you and we have to handle our sins according to our beliefs. THE PROBLEM this law is going to be .. how much serious harm this could cause our children. Do you realize how many child molesters and pedifilers are going to use this type of law to get access to our children…. why cant there be a law saying businesses had to provide a non-gender bathroom along with male and female bathrooms….

    • thumbody

      Common sense always avoids the left.

  • Joel Rivera

    LOL! Sounds like this dumb broad of a mayor is having a “Sgt. Shultz” moment. A liar like the politician she is.

  • What37

    The so-called “bathroom bill” is not a political issue, but a moral issue – and most people already know it isn’t right to go into the restroom for the opposite sex.

  • Nora Shaw

    Yeah right she didn’t know…

    • Realitycbd

      She’s one of “the dog ate my homework” politicians.

  • tfazzo

    The constitution folks sadly means nothing because they aim to change it, and one way or another you will go to jail for the stupidest things.

  • jerseydevil

    She didn’t know! GIVE ME A BREAK! Why did she call their sermons “FAIR GAME”?

  • Nadiam57

    She knew about them and she tweeted about it. She is a liar! They are changing the wording but she is going ahead with the subpoenas. This is her personal agenda and not for the people of Houston.

  • thumbody

    I wonder if she knows for sure if she is gay?

  • Daniel Allen

    So. She’s just going to lie her way out of it! What a suprise.

  • Brad F

    Isn’t she a sweetheart? Use her political power to go after a group she hates, then lie about it. Pillar of integrity there. Didn’t Hitler turn his hatred for Jews into a major thing?

  • Ken M

    They say power corrupts, but I have a hunch she was already corrupt before she took office.

  • Namyriah

    One of the pastors on her hit list is Vietnamese, he should cry “racism,” the liberals certainly get a lot mileage out of doing that.

  • JeffreyRo55

    This Anusse Parker is a travesty.

  • calduncan

    Totally aside from this disgusting cow’s bigotry toward Christians, what’s with her and this city council and their nutball Equal Rights Ordinance? Is the public supposed to accommodate itself to the mentally ill? There are men and women, and birth certificates are extremely reliable. In a free society, we can tolerate cuckoos, but we don’t have to play along with the cuckoos’ psychoses. A man has no business – none – in the women’s restroom, or a woman in a men’s restroom. Was this really a high priority for a huge city like Houston – or is this the usual liberal Compassion Show, a gaggle of left-wingers passing laws for the sole purpose of congratulating themselves on their moral superiority.

  • Dan Horsley

    Guess it makes her feel like a real man to engage in dirty political tactics, then lie about it. The women wanted equality, they got it – be just as slimy as the men.

    So much for the feminists’ claim that women politicians would work for consensus and harmony. This one is just as cutthroat and dirty as any male political hack. Someone ought to get the lowdown on her, maybe she’s like Hellary Clinton, lots of dead bodies (literally) in her background.

  • Conservative seer

    I blame the people who voted her into office, what did you think a lesbian mayor would do ?, embrace the churches? , homosexuality is a spirit of rebellion against God, wake up Houston, she needs to be recalled from office

  • Radial

    As a Christian, while this is upsetting, we also be gentle in spirit, as being argumentative will only give more fuel to the fire. I would not be comfortable having a man dressed as a woman use the same restroom as me. I am especially concerned for my child. As Christians, not only is spiritual discernment needed, but also wisdom. The main areas where this will be of concern will be in multi-stall restrooms such as a mall, arena, sporting complex, and schools. However, some businesses (i.e. gas stations) already have single room restrooms, so this wouldn’t be as much of a concern. One could hope businesses would offer more private singe room restrooms in light of this law, so this wouldn’t even be an issue. However, the idea that people of the opposite sex, regardless of how they view themselves, can use the same restroom is ludicrous.