Houston Mayor Rescinds Subpoenas of Pastors
Mayor Annise Parker, Houston’s first openly lesbian mayor, rescinded the subpoenas sent to five Houston area pastors. The subpoenas originally demanded all sermons and correspondence dealing with homosexuality, gender identity and the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
The decision was announced Wednesday afternoon at a press conference according to Fox News. "After much contemplation and discussion, I am directing the city legal department to withdraw the subpoenas issued to the five Houston pastors who delivered the petitions, the anti-HERO petitions, to the city of Houston and who indicated that they were responsible for the overall petition effort," said Parker.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) led a rally with Houston area pastors and political leaders earlier this month at Houston First Baptist Church. At that time, Cruz told Breitbart Texas in an exclusive interview that Mayor Parker had “no legal authority, no constitutional authority and no moral authority” to issue the subpoenas.”
Following Parker’s latest announcement of rescinding the subpoenas Cruz said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, “Supporters of religious liberty have just achieved a tremendous victory. Today is an answer to prayer.”
“Last month,” Cruz continued, “the City of Houston issued a subpoena demanding that five pastors hand over their sermons and correspondence. Together, thousands rose up and told the City to withdraw that subpoena. Americans defended our right to worship freely without fear of government intimidation, sending a message that was so loud and strong the City of Houston could not ignore it. And the City of Houston complied, withdrawing the subpoenas altogether."
He continued, “Pastors across Houston – across denominations, racial and ethnic lines – all came together in support of religious liberty” the Senator concluded. “As always, I was proud to stand with the pastors, and I applaud their courage for speaking up, and drawing national attention to the ongoing attacks against people of faith. May this strengthen our resolve to defend our liberty and always uphold our God-given rights."
It seems Parker is still intent on protecting the ordinance from the repeal efforts of Houston area pastors and other religious conservatives. "It is extremely important to me to protect our Equal Rights Ordinance from repeal, and it is extremely important to me to make sure that every Houstonian knows that their lives are valid and protected and acknowledged," Parker said. "We are going to continue to vigorously defend our ordinance against repeal efforts."
The attorney representing the five Houston pastors, Erik Stanley, said the Mayor really had no choice but to withdraw the subpoenas. “She was roundly criticized from the right and the left – from all across the nation,” Stanley said. “They were only intended to intimidate and to bully pastors into silence. It sent a terrible message to the faith community in Houston and across the country.”