Tag: Sermon

Houston Sermon Subpoenas: Timeline and Links

Houston Mayor Annise Parker

Houston Mayor Annise Parker

Timeline and Facts

• Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 — Houston City Council passes HERO, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

• Tuesday, Aug 4th, 2014 — Opponents of HERO submit petition for a ballot initiative to repeal HERO in November election; City Rejects Petition.

• Tuesday, Aug. 5th, 2014 — Opponents of HERO sued the city of Houston for rejecting petition; ask judge to verify it.

• August–October: Lawsuit ongoing? news reports are slim.

• Tuesday, Oct. 14th — news surfaces (reported in Houston Chronicle) that city attorneys had subpoenaed five local pastors who are considered as “tied to the conservative Christian activists who have sued the city.” The subpoenas, which ask for “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to [the equal rights ordinance], the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession” are widely criticized with immediate reactions from the left and right.

• Wednesday, Oct 15th, 2014, about 00:12 AM, Houston Mayor A. Parker tweets “if the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game.”

• Wednesday, Oct. 15th, 2014, in the afternoon: Houston Mayor A. Parker issues a statement stating that she was “surprised” by the subpoenas, withdrawing them, and stating that the city will seek a narrower scope of discovery during a hearing yet to be scheduled.


Bailey, S. P. “Houston subpoenas pastor’s sermons in gay rights ordinance,” Religious News Service (10/14/2014) http://www.religionnews.com/2014/10/14/houston-subpoenas-pastors-sermons-equal-rights-ordinance-case-prompting-outcry/

Driessen, L. “City subpoenas sermons in equal rights case,” Houston Chronicle (10/14/2014) http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/City-subpoenas-sermons-in-ERO-court-case-5822800.php

Gershman, J. “Houston Mayor Says City’s Sermon Subpoenas Came as a Surprise,” Wall Street Journal (10/15/2014) http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2014/10/15/houston-mayor-says-citys-sermon-subpoenas-came-as-a-surprise/

Morris and Driessen, “Equal Rights Ordinance Opponents Sue City: Group asks judge to verify petition for a referendum,” Houston Chronicle (08/05/2014) http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Equal-rights-ordinance-opponents-sue-city-5670743.php

Parker, Tweet of 10/15/2014 https://twitter.com/AnniseParker/status/522238662033956866

Posner, S. “Houston’s Pastor Subpoenas: A Meme Made For Fox News” Religion Dispatches (10/15/2014) http://religiondispatches.org/houstons-pastor-subpoenas-a-meme-made-for-fox-news/

City of Houston Webstie, “Equal Rights Ordinance,” http://www.houston.org/equalrights/

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