HOUSTON – It's Houston pastors verses Mayor Annise Parker, again.
The Houston Area Pastors' Council has filed a lawsuit against Mayor Annise Parke, claiming their civil rights were violated when the mayor subpoenaed their sermons during Equal Rights Ordinance debates last year. The suit also says that voters' rights were squashed when HERO didn't go to straight to the ballot.
The mayor later dropped her subpoena bid, and the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the ordinance must appear on the ballot, but the pastors are still not backing down.
“I will continue to stand and fight sin wherever it rears its head because I have a mandate from God,” says Rev. F.M. Williams.
In response to the suit, the mayor's office released a statement saying in part:
"This new lawsuit is not about civil rights or religious freedom. It’s about politics. It is being waged by a small group that wants to take Houston backward instead of moving it forward."
Mayor' Annise Parker's full response to lawsuit:
This new lawsuit is not about civil rights or religious freedom. It’s about politics. It is being waged by a small group that wants to take Houston backward instead of moving it forward. I respect the pastors' right to use our legal process how they see fit, but their energy would be better invested in making sure Houston remains a welcoming, inclusive city that does not discriminate. Houston simply isn’t the City it was 20 or 30 years ago. We are a diverse mixture of residents who get along and are accepting of each other’s differences. It is this open and inclusive atmosphere that helps make Houston attractive to new residents, new business, major sporting events like the Super Bowl and more. The ongoing effort by this group threatens to hurt that image and our progress.