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The city of Houston has a very interesting equal rights fight taking place. It is over proposed changes to their current Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. One such change would specify that “no business open to the public could deny a transgender person entry to the restroom consistent with his or her gender identity.” In other words, a man who dresses and identifies as a woman cannot be denied the right to use the women’s bathroom and vice versa.

Needless to say, there are opponents to this and other proposed changes. Among them are some of Houston’s clergy. They have protested and even collected tens of thousands of signatures to repeal the referendum only to be told the signatures were invalid. Now the office of openly lesbian Mayor, Annise Parker, has issues subpoenas for the sermons of at least 5 pastors who are among the legislation’s opposition. She has not solely demanded their sermons but according to the Houston Chronicle, “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

When did it become okay for political office to be the place for personal agendas? Grant it, I am time zones away yet I offer my opinion. If the people of Houston want a change it should be initiated by the people and not a special interest group or the Mayor. Assault on the first amendment by a public office should never be tolerated and is a dangerous precedent to set. The targeted activists and clergy have attained an attorney and are suing the city. The city attorney’s office has not commented to any media.

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