City wanted to deny pastors jury trial
Houston Mayor Annise Parker
A Texas judge has rejected the city of Houston’s demand to deny a jury trial to pastors fighting a controversial transgender ordinance.
The ruling, released late Tuesday by Judge Robert Schaffer in the Harris County District Court in Houston, came in a case in which the city created a firestorm of controversy by issuing subpoenas for copies of pastors’ sermons.
In its latest motion, the city claimed the pastors have no right to a jury trial, contending the decision should be made by a hand-picked “special master.”
The pastors are opposing an ordinance adopted by lesbian Mayor Annise Parker and council members that creates protections for transgenders, allowing them to use city facilities designated for the opposite sex.
Opponents immediately launched a petition drive to overturn the ordinance. When the city secretary confirmed there were enough signatures to require either a reversal of the decision or an election, the mayor and her attorney, David Feldman, stepped in and simply ruled that tens of thousands of signatures were invalid.
A trial is scheduled to begin in a few weeks.
One of the key opponents is Pastor Dave Welch of the Houston Area Pastor Council. He told WND that the city’s move was a “desperate attempt” to keep any decision about the mayor’s ordinance out of the hands of Houston citizens.
Parker subpoenaed the sermons of five pastors, demanding copies of any communications related to her and “gay” issues, a move that was ridiculed by commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, America’s top-rated radio host, who described the mayor’s actions as “vile.”
“I think what that mayor in Houston has done may be one of the most vile, filthy, blatant violations of the Constitution that I have seen,” Limbaugh said on his national broadcast. “And I, for the life of me, cannot figure out why law authorities are not pursuing this. I cannot understand it.”
Written by BOB UNRUH
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