Houston Mayor: Whatever Floats Your Vote
Jesus said, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.'” Unfortunately, that’ll be a lot harder for Houston voters in the next election. Thanks to an administration that apparently sees people as a nuisance in their advance of an anti-religious freedom agenda, voters will have to pay extra close attention this November, when the Houston bathroom bill is finally on the ballot.
Mayor Annise Parker is up to her old tricks — the most recent being her intentional manipulation of the ballot language. Although she and the rest of the council have no choice but to bring the issue up for a vote, they still plan on using every stunt in the book to protect the measure — including muddying the question’s wording.
Under the city’s charter, four members argued, it’s wrong for voters to have to vote “yes” on repealing the ordinance but “no” on keeping it. “[T]he charter tells us… that we must put an ordinance on the ballot where qualified voters at such elections shall vote ‘in favor.’ So ‘in favor’ means, ‘Yes, implement HERO [the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance],'” they said. Obviously, Parker is banking on the fact that most people will show up to the polling booth and vote “no,” thinking they’re opposing the ordinance. Instead, “no” is a vote against repeal — which is a counterintuitive (and potentially counter-charter) means of phrasing things.
The city council isn’t fighting fair because it knows it can’t win fair. If opening up bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms to any gender were as popular as liberals argue it is, they wouldn’t have to deceive people! At least one member, C.O. Bradford, was outraged that the city was playing games on such a serious issue. Even the local press accused Mayor Parker of trying to pull a fast one on voters by creating intentional confusion. Yet when Bradford offered an amendment trying to clarify the verbiage, he lost. Now, the outcome of HERO’s repeal could hang on a single word. “Shall the city of Houston implement” or “Shall the city repeal?”
That may be a question for the courts, since conservatives vow they won’t stand for any more of the Mayor’s chicanery. Over the past two years, both sides have worn a path to the courthouse, filing suits and countersuits over the idea that local conservatives and Christians should be punished for not embracing this radical redefinition of nature’s law — and Houston’s. “I guess it’ll be back to the courthouse again and that’s unfortunate,” Bradford told reporters, “because we could get it right and we could move this thing forward for the voters to vote on it, and not spend hundreds of thousands of additional dollars. But I think that’s where we are.”
Of course, we’ve seen these political shenanigans from LGBT activists before. On marriage amendments, initiatives, and other voter-driven efforts, the Left tries to gain every possible advantage. That’s what people do when they can’t win on facts: they sabotage the process — or worse, they rob the people of their voice, which is what Mayor Parker did last year. Fortunately for Texans, their Supreme Court is returning to the people the power they deserve, but that isn’t stopping the city council from trying to disorient the opposition. In case the Left hasn’t learned by now, that won’t deter local churches.
Meanwhile, in a separate suit, some members of the “Houston Five” are working to win back the half-million dollar legal burden Parker put on them when she hauled HERO’s objectors to court. “She trampled the voting rights of over a million people in the fourth largest city in the United States of America,” the group’s attorney said at this week’s press conference. “And so we’re here today to say… there’s going to be accountability for doing that. We are not going to sit idly by and let you do that.”
For more from our friends on the ground, check out the interview I did on Tuesday’s “Washington Watch” with one of the plaintiffs, Pastor Hernon Castano.
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