Last year, the Houston City Council passed a so-called non-discrimination ordinance, which, among other things, would have made it illegal for business owners to refuse to hire men pretending to be women, and vice versa, even if they had religious objections to the lifestyle.
Opponents contended that the ordinance violated the city charter, the Texas Defense of Marriage Act, and the state constitution.
The city’s lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, also ordered the city to provide spousal benefits to homosexuals who’d “married” in different states, despite voters barring such a policy through a charter amendment in 2001. A court temporarily blocked the city from enforcing it.
Last week the state’s highest court issued a ruling on the “non-discrimination” ordinance, ordering the Houston City Council either to repeal it by August 24 or allow the people to vote on it in November. From the Washington Times:
The 12-page decision says that the council ran afoul of the city charter when it refused to act after the city secretary certified a year ago the signatures submitted by a pastor-led coalition, which had moved to force a vote on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised the court’s decision Friday, saying that, “Freedom of expression can only exist once government removes itself from stifling free speech, repressing religious liberty and interfering with the lives of its citizens.”
“Today’s decision by the Texas Supreme Court appropriately returns jurisdiction over this matter to voters while reassuring the people of Houston that their personal values remain beyond the reach of government,” said the Republican governor in a statement.
Parker drew fire when she issued subpoenas to five pastors to turn over sermons critical of the sin of homosexuality. After a public backlash, she rescinded the subpoenas.
If the ordinance is put to the vote, let’s hope the people will reject this imposition on religious freedom and decency.