Tags: houston | sermons | subpoenaed | equal | rights

Houston Sermons Subpoenaed Over Equal Rights Ordinance

By    |   Thursday, 16 Oct 2014 10:30 AM

Houston pastors are fighting a subpoena by city officials who want to see if their Sunday sermons opposed the city's equal rights ordinance, charging that Mayor Annise Parker and her administration are trampling on their First Amendment rights.

Houston city attorneys issued the subpoenas in September while opponents of the city's equal rights ordinance were trying to force a repeal referendum, according to the Houston Chronicle. Those opponents are now challenging city attorney David Feldman's ruling that the group did not gather enough valid signatures to place the repeal referendum on the ballot.

The subpoena was part the case's discovery phase and it asked for "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance), the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession," according to the Houston Chronicle.

The subpoena was issued to several high profile pastors and religious leaders who have been opposing the ordinance, the newspaper said.

In pushing back against the subpoenas, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal group representing the pastors, issued a statement Monday saying it filed a motion saying that the sermons were constitutionally protected speech and the city had no right demanding them.

"City council members are supposed to be public servants, not 'Big Brother' overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge," ADF senior legal counsel Erik Stanley said in a statement. "In this case, they have embarked upon a witch-hunt, and we are asking the court to put a stop to it.

The Alliance Defending Freedom counsel Christina Holcomb called the subpoenas "both needless and unprecedented."

The mayor tweeted Wednesday that the examination was needed to see if the pastors used their pulpit for political purposes in regards to the equal rights ordinance.


Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, though, told Fox News that Parker was "breaching the wall of separation between church and state" and pastors around the country were coming to the defense of Houston's ministers.


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Houston pastors are fighting a subpoena by city officials who want to see if their Sunday sermons opposed the city's equal rights ordinance, charging that Mayor Annise Parker and her administration are trampling on their First Amendment rights.
houston, sermons, subpoenaed, equal, rights
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2014-30-16
Thursday, 16 Oct 2014 10:30 AM
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