This week the country learned that in the politically red state of Texas is the liberal, blue city of Houston, which is led by Mayor Annise Parker, an avowed lesbian.
In May, Mayor Parker rammed through the city council a controversial transgender rights measure called the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), otherwise known as the "bathroom bill." It would allow men who self identify as females to use the women's bathroom and vice versa. Obviously, the ordinance was controversial and five local pastors mounted a successful campaign to gather 50,000 signatures to oppose the measure. This was more than three times the number of signatures necessary to force a voter referendum on the ordinance.
Despite the overwhelming number of signatures gathered, the Houston city attorney dismissed the petitions claiming that there were "irregularities." Thereafter, a lawsuit was filed by four citizens outraged at such disregard for public sentiment. A court date has been set for January 19, 2015 to decide this matter. more >>
The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and other liberal groups have expressed concern over Houston officials subpoenaing sermons that may have been critical of an LGBT discrimination city ordinance.
Recently the city subpoenaed various pastors' sermons due to their objection to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, a recently passed law that has strong conservative opposition.
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. more >>
A group of pastors in Houston, Texas are now fighting to block subpoenas from the city's lawyers demanding that they turn over all sermons addressing homosexuality, gender identity or the city's first openly lesbian mayor, Annise Parker.
According to a statement from Alliance Defending Freedom, city officials in Houston are upset over a voter lawsuit filed after the Houston City Council rejected valid petitions to repeal the city's controversial, equal rights ordinance which, among other things, allows members of the opposite sex to use each other's restrooms.
"City council members are supposed to be public servants, not 'Big Brother' overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge," said ADF senior legal counsel Erik Stanley in the statement. "In this case, they have embarked upon a witch-hunt, and we are asking the court to put a stop to it." more >>
On Monday, the Vatican released an interim report, known as a relatio, which is a non-authoritative document, similar to an advisory, for its synod of bishops to consider when they next discuss issues related to the family, marriage, divorce and sexual orientation.
The media responded, sadly, as it often has, in a frenzy of inferences rather than researching and reporting facts. Reuters proclaimed the Catholic Church has made a "dramatic shift in tone" about same-sex couples— an "earthquake." The New York Times reported the Vatican was calling on the church to "welcome and accept gay people."
The media's ignorance about religious beliefs is well known but the refusal to actually do their job and report facts is astounding. more >>
A recently released midterm report from the Synod of Bishops on the family, which defended the traditional definition of marriage but used positive language toward same-sex couples in some situations, has garnered controversy among some bishops who say it does not accurately reflect the assembly's views.
"In regard to homosexuality, there was noted the need for welcoming, with the right degree of prudence, so as not to create the impression of a positive valuation of that orientation," read a summary of the remarks some bishops had toward the report, Catholic News Service reported. "It was hoped that the same care would be taken in regard to cohabitation."
The mid-term report earlier this week ruled out changes to the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, but said that the Synod bishops are working with the concept that gay people have "gifts and qualities" to offer the church. more >>