HOUSTON, Texas — A Washington, D.C., based LGBT advocacy group has hit Houston city council members who opposed the “bathroom ordinance” with a flood of public record requests. The group is seeking all communications of any sort between these six council members and pastors and faith organizations, and others – in all, 51 groups and individuals.
LGBT advocates have been reeling since the defeat of the ordinance during Houston’s November elections. Houston voters came out in massive numbers and soundly rejected the proposition by a vote of 61 to 39 percent.
After the defeat, the openly gay mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, smeared pastors as “liars” and blamed them for their messages from the pulpit, as reported by Breitbart Texas. LGBT bathroom ordinance losers even asked the NFL to cancel the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston.
Parker had said that passing the ordinance was “personal.” The city and the mayor made headlines after the City of Houston sent subpoenas to several Houston area pastors demanding copies of their sermons and speeches, as well as their communications with church members, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
A group that calls itself “The Campaign for Accountability” (CFA) made the extensive and intrusive request for information to the six city council members.
As reported by Empower Texans, a member of CFA’s advisory board, Robin Brand, is the former Deputy Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and has donated to Parker’s campaigns. Moreover, Parker recently participated in the Victory Fund’s International Leadership Conference.
When Brand became the Deputy Executive Director of the Fund, she released a statement saying, “I’m proud to be able to help lead one of the most effective LGBT organizations in the country.” She added, “I look forward to working with some courageous candidates, LGBT officeholders and the Victory staff to help achieve this vital mission.” Brand specifically named Mayor Parker. Brand was also reported to have assisted in marriage equality propositions in California and Maine.
The request sent by the organization to the city council members (attached below) “seeks records of any kind, regardless of format, including paper records, electronic records, audiotapes, videotapes, calendars, and photographs.”
It asks for “copies of all communications, electronic or otherwise, from January 1, 2014, to the present” between six city councilmembers “and/or between any of their legislative staff and the following individuals, organizations, and email addresses” and the 51 conservative individuals and groups.
Included in these groups and individuals are: Focus on the Family; Family Research Council; Heritage Foundation; Liberty Institute; The Rutherford Institute; the US Pastor Council; Baptist Ministers Association of Houston; Catholic Charities USA; Christian Legal Society, Center for Law & Religious Freedom; Faith and Freedom Coalition; Second Baptist Church in Houston; Texas Values; and Campaign for Houston, among others.
The public information act request also seeks communications with lawyer Andy Taylor who fought a long but successful fight through the court system to get a referendum to the voters.
Rev. Dave Welch, and the US Pastor Council which is based in Houston, were front and center of the legal fight. Communications with this groups and their representatives are also sought.
The US Pastor Council is now seeking donations to help pay for the costly eighteen month legal battle against Major Parker and the City of Houston costing $650,000 in legal expenses, tens of thousands of dollars mobilizing and informing pastors, and getting the message to churches and voters.
City Councilmen Michael Kubosh is incensed that he and his fellow city council members have been hit with such a far-reaching and vengeful public information requests. Kubosh forwarded the public information requests to Breitbart Texas saying, “HERE IS THE LUMP OF COAL from the Mayor.”
The outspoken city councilmen had already written the city legal department and said he believed the requests were “Mayor Parker’s Christmas Present of a ‘lump of coal’ for voting NO on her HERO ordinance.” Kubosh told Breitbart Texas that the Houston mayor rewarded those who voted “YES” for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) with a bottle of wine.
The requests for the email, memos, text messages, letters, and other communications were sent to Kubosh and City of Houston council members Dave Martin, Brenda Stardig, Oliver Pennington, Jack Christie, and Dwight Boykins – the six council members who voted against the ordinance. Although Houston city political races are nonpartisan, most of the council members are Republicans.
Andy Taylor, the lawyer who beat the mayor in court and succeeded in having the issue placed on the ballot told Breitbart Texas, “I am honored to be on the hit list of these sore losers.” He added, “I am sure Mayor Parker and her legal department will fight this silliness with the same vigor they used to go after the sermons of Houston churches. I am an advocate of open government, but this isn’t a fact finding mission, it is just retaliation from whiners.”
Taylor scored several major legal victories for Houstonians this year. The Texas Supreme Court forced the City of Houston to hold an election on the bathroom ordinance, then rejected Mayor Parker’s attempt to confuse voters with the ballot language. Taylor is also the attorney responsible for overturning the “rain tax” on Houstonians.
The deadline to respond to the public information act requests are December 17.
The vote in the runoff in Houston city elections for mayor and city council members is underway. Early voting is over but election day will be on Saturday, December 12th. The election pits long-time Democrat Texas House representative Sylvestor Turner against Republican lawyer and businessman Bill King. King is opposed to an ordinance that would allow men who are dressed as women, or identify as women in women’s restrooms. Turner is for the measure.
This article has been updated with additional information.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2