HOUSTON, Texas – Houston Mayor Annise Parker called the campaign against her pet ordinance a “calculated campaign of lies” and blamed area pastors and their messages from the pulpits of churches across the city. Parker’s HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance) proposition was soundly defeated by popular vote after the Texas Supreme Court ordered that the measure be placed on the ballot.
“They just kept spewing an ugly wad of lies from our TV screens and from pulpits,” Parker claimed in a very emotional concession speech following the 61-39 defeat of her dream. “This was a calculated campaign by a very small but determined group of right-wing ideologues and the ‘religionist right,’ and they know only how to destroy – not how to build up.”
Houston Area Pastor Council’s executive director Dave Welch took exception to the mayor’s charges that pastors lied. “Annise Parker has proven to be so blinded by her own personal lifestyle that the bitterness of her response is simply consistent with all she has done on this issue over the past eighteen months,” Welch said to Breitbart Texas in an interview on Wednesday morning. “The diverse team of godly pastors of integrity and courage that stood against her to defeat this terrible ordinance stands head and shoulders above the corruption and deception she used and which ultimately, thank the Lord, failed.”
This is not the first time for Mayor Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, to attack religious leaders and pastors. Breitbart Texas reported in October, 2014 that Parker’s battle to stop Houstonians from getting this ordinance placed on the ballot moved directly into the church pulpits across Houston. After Houstonians quickly gathered more than 50,000 signatures to force Parker to place the issue to a public vote, Parker moved to strike down the petitions and even subpoenaed pastors across the city, some of whom were not even part of the ballot initiative.
Her subpoenas raised a national firestorm and drew fire from leaders across the county including Senator Ted Cruz, shown in lead photo with Houston area pastors. After a few days, she rescinded her subpoenas, Breitbart Texas reported. Mayor Parker admitted that the subpoenas were too broad, and that the pastors’ sermons should not have been included. “It’s not about what did you preach on last Sunday,” she said at the time. “It should have been clarified, it will be clarified.” City Attorney David Feldman had an odd admission of his own: that he had not reviewed the subpoenas before they were issued. “When I looked at it I felt it was overly broad, I would not have worded it that way myself,” said Feldman. “It’s unfortunate that it has been construed as some effort to infringe upon religious liberty.”
The City of Houston will now move forward to a runoff election for the person who will replace Parker as mayor. The three-term mayor is leaving office because of the city’s current 6-year term limit. State Representative Sylvester Turner and businessman Bill King will be in the runoff election to be held in mid-December. Turner was also a strong advocate for Parker’s ordinance.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.