Petition Partition: Houston Mayor Tries to Sink Referendum
By Tony Perkins
Marriage isn’t the only issue liberals are afraid to decide democratically. In Houston, Mayor Annise Parker is so concerned that her new genderless bathroom ordinance won’t fly that she’s trying to flush the referendum that would get the bill on the ballot. After submitting more than 50,000 signatures (30,000 more than our side needed), the Mayor and her team are systematically disqualifying the petitions, hoping to avoid the public blowback sure to undo her radical law.
Conveniently, Mayor Parker (an open lesbian who has called this ordinance “personal”) asked the Houston City Attorney, not the Council Secretary, to verify the petitions — something our friends at Texas Values say is highly unusual. The City Council approved the measure in May, ordering local businesses, employers, and contractors to give special preference to gays and lesbians in their decisions — along with a highly controversial section that gives adults permission to use whichever public restroom, shower, and locker room they choose, regardless of their biological sex. After the Council approved it, a coalition of local pastors and other concerned citizens promised to take the issue to voters — something liberals are desperately trying to avoid.
Left with no other option, conservatives are suing the city for applying stricter rules to the repeal petition than others. Dave Welch, part of the Houston Area Pastors Council, blasted the Mayor’s abuse of political power. “We were well aware we were dealing with an administration that’s willing to bend the rules,” he said. “Frankly, there was no respect for the rights of voters in this process.”
** For more on the judicial hot potato of marriage, check out the new Daily Caller op-ed from Peter Sprigg, “Appeals Court Should Correct Judge Friedman’s Botched Social Science” and Ken Blackwell’s debate on MSNBC (below).
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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