A 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision could play a role in the outcome of a lawsuit over Houston Mayor Annise Parker's denial of a petition to revoke the city's new Equal Rights Ordinance.
Around 55,000 signatures were gathered to add to the November ballot a question on whether to repeal the ERO. Since "gender identity" is included in the list of categories that cannot be discriminated against for public accommodations, critics have dubbed the law the "bathroom bill," because males who identify as female would be allowed to use women's bathrooms and females who identify as male would be allowed to use men's bathrooms.
Even though the city secretary, Anna Russell, certified the signatures, Parker refused to add the issue to next week's ballot, arguing that most of the signatures were invalid. more >>
Subpoenas issued to five Houston pastors demanding all sermons and correspondence dealing with homosexuality, gender identity and the city's Equal Rights ordinance have been withdrawn, the city's first openly lesbian mayor announced at a Wednesday press conference.
"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 Mayor Annise Parker in remarks covered by television station KPRC.
My column on the issue sparked a bit of national outrage – well – a lot of national outrage. To be honest it was a full-scale hullabaloo. City Hall was deluged with telephone calls, letters, emails – along with hundreds of Bibles and sermons. More than 50,000 supporters signed a petition. more >>
Two of Texas's most popular megachurch pastors, T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House and Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church, Dallas, reflected dueling positions on the state's controversial voter identification law. Jakes dismissed it as "needless" while Jeffress argued that the law is necessary ahead of Tuesday's mid-term elections.
The Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 14 (SB 14) into law in 2011 in a bid to curb voter fraud. It requires voters seeking to cast their ballots in person to present photo identification, such as a Texas driver's or gun license, a military ID or a passport according to votetexas.gov. The law is described as one of the strictest voter identification laws in the country.
Many Democrats and voting rights advocates have been lobbying against the law charging that it stands to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of particularly minority voters, but last month the Supreme Court, in an order which was unsigned and without reason, allowed the law to go into effect ahead of next week's election. more >>
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has criticized President Barack Obama's "incompetent" response to Ebola virus cases in the U.S., arguing that the government's failure to provide clarity created fear among the public. During a speech on Tuesday about the Ebola response, however, the president pointed out that all seven Americans treated for the virus have survived.
"It looked very incompetent to begin with, and that fueled fears that may not be justified," Bush said during an appearance at Vanderbilt University, The Associated Press reported. "And now you have states that are legitimately acting on their concerns, creating a lot more confusion than is necessary."
Some states, like New Jersey, have implemented strict quarantine policies in response to reported Ebola cases, leading to one nurse who was placed under mandatory quarantine to argue that her 'basic human rights' were violated. more >>
In polite society, you're not supposed to talk about politics, sex, or religion. Sorry, but this column will discuss all three, directly or indirectly.
In America, we get the kind of government we deserve. Is this the best we can do?
There certainly is a big divide in how we approach politics, even among well-meaning Christians. more >>
Pope Francis beatified Pope Paul VI at the close of the contentious Synod on the Family. Pope Francis will not be "progressing" toward some new day of sexual freedom. He is "sealing the deal" on Church teaching on contraception by beatifying Paul VI. And in so doing, Pope Francis, like Paul VI, is defending the rights of the poor and vulnerable.
For Paul VI is the author of the 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Paul VI dashed any hope, inside or outside of the Catholic Church, about a "new day dawning" on the subject of contraception. In spite of all the wishful thinking among the rich and powerful of our time, the Catholic Church will not be changing its position on the highly contested moral issues now, either.
Humanae Vitae was prophetic. Against all the "winds of change," against the rich, the beautiful and the important people of the 1960's claiming that contraception would solve the world's problems, Paul VI reiterated the ancient teaching of the Catholic Church. (In fact, the prohibition on contraception had been the universal teaching of all the Christian churches right up until the Lambeth Convention of the Anglican Church in 1930, but I digress.) In spite of all pressure arrayed in favor of artificial birth control, Paul VI predicted that this social experiment would end badly. more >>