Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced Wednesday the city is withdrawing subpoenas sent to pastors who led opposition to the city’s Equal Rights Ordinance.
Attorneys for the city came under fire from right-wing groups after they subpoenaed the pastors’ sermons as part the city’s defense of a lawsuit aimed at repealing the ordinance.
In response to the backlash, Parker directed the attorneys to remove the reference to “sermons” from the subpoenas. But on Wednesday, the mayor went a step further, withdrawing the subpoenas entirely. Parker said she made the decision to withdraw the subpoenas after meeting with two groups of pastors on Tuesday to discuss the issue.
“It is extremely important to me to protect our equal rights ordinance from repeal,” Parker said at a press conference Wednesday. “We believe we can vigorously defend the city of Houston in this petition and that we can do it without the subpoenas.”
Parker was not aware of the original subpoenas but bore the brunt of the backlash. Amongst other things, including ugly references to her lesbian sexual orientation, her office was inundated with 100 to 500 Bibles. Parker said she will donate the Bibles.
Unfortunately, I doubt this move will stop any momentum the religious right is hoping to milk from the fracas. Several groups, led by the Family Research Council, will be holding a rally on Sunday entitled I Stand Sunday.
But just like Parker intends to make the most of the Bibles sent to her, I plan to make the most of the rally by conveniently highjacking the twitter tag #IStandSunday to post some truths about the religious right, especially the link to my booklet, How They See Us: Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America.