By Tony Perkins
Family Research Council – Houston Mayor Annise Parker (D) promised not to make homosexuality an issue in her administration. Instead, she’s made it the issue — around which everything else revolves. As the leader of the fourth largest city in America, Parker jumped at the chance to use her power in support of her own personal LGBT agenda. An open lesbian, the Mayor has tried to bypass the laws on marriage, declared Valentine’s Day “Freedom to Marry Day,” and now threatens to push through the most radical piece of special rights legislation the city has ever seen.
Like the controversial San Antonio ordinance before it, Houston’s measure forces businesses to celebrate a radical definition of sexuality — or face fines of up to $500 a day. In a state that passed its marriage amendment by a whopping 75%, the idea has ignited its share of conflict. Apart from steamrolling the pro-marriage majority, locals are up in arms about the proposal’s “Public Accommodations” language, which would allow men to use women’s showers and restrooms (and vice-versa) based on their “perceived” gender. The language prompted a city-wide firestorm, with public testimony stretching over four hours last Tuesday.
Today, Mayor Parker announced that she may be willing to sacrifice that part of the ordinance to force the rest through. Local conservatives, who’ve dubbed the proposal, “Mayor Parker’s Sexual Predator Protection Act,” had another crack at the language this afternoon, as the city meets to debate the 36-page assault on free speech, religious liberty, and public safety. Leading the charge are Texas Values and a courageous group of local pastors, who refused to be cowed into giving up their right to live according to their own convictions.
“Tolerance,” said Second Baptist Church’s Ed Young, “should not be defined as casting aside and acting against one’s own beliefs to accommodate someone else’s. Simply put, the homosexual community wants us to tolerate their behavior and beliefs but does not want to give the rest of us that same courtesy. On top of that, they want to use threats of criminal prosecution and fines to accomplish our acquiescence. Their rights should end where our morality and rights begin.”
Unfortunately, the radical Left is doing its best to persuade America otherwise — as we saw just this week with the fierce overreaction to football players like Don Jones, who objected to the public display of two men kissing at the NFL draft. Instead of embracing the free exchange of ideas and opinions, the League hauled Jones into a team tribunal and banned him from the Dolphins until he finished “reeducation classes.” Obviously, when it comes to tolerance, conservatives need not apply.
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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