Houston Is Proving Why Baton Rouge Dodged A Bullet With That Fairness Ordinance

Remember the July-August kerfuffle at the Baton Rouge Metro Council about the proposed “Fairness Ordinance” that would have supposedly banned discrimination with respect to housing and employment, among other things, against those people of exotic sexual tastes?

It was quite a floor show when that ordinance made its 2014 debut in the council chambers, and it took two meetings of the council to finally dispose of the issue with a vote against adopting the ordinance.

Two of the main arguments made in favor of the ordinance were that passing it would actually be good for business in Baton Rouge, as major companies from other locales would be more willing to locate their headquarters and other facilities in town, and that the Biblical and religious arguments against it were mere masks for hatred.

Neither argument persuaded many on the Metro Council. As it turns out, the instincts of the majority that the fairness ordinance would likely be a gateway to chaos appear to have been well-founded.

Just one state to the West, Houston is finding its own fairness ordinance to be a Pandora’s Box of constitutional infirmities, assaults on civil liberties and tyrannical abuses of power…

Houston’s embattled equal rights ordinance took another legal turn this week when it surfaced that city attorneys, in an unusual step, subpoenaed sermons given by local pastors who oppose the law and are tied to the conservative Christian activists that have sued the city.

Opponents of the equal rights ordinance are hoping to force a repeal referendum when they get their day in court in January, claiming City Attorney David Feldman wrongly determined they had not gathered enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. City attorneys issued subpoenas last month during the case’s discovery phase, seeking, among other communications, “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

The subpoenas were issued to several high-profile pastors and religious leaders who have been vocal in opposing the ordinance. The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion on behalf of the pastors seeking to quash the subpoenas.

Annise Parker, the mayor of Houston, happens to be a lesbian. That’s not the real issue in the the HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance) controversy so much as Parker’s membership in the Cultural Left is at issue.

The ordinance was passed in May by an 11-6 vote of the city council, and in August a petition with 50,000 signatures to put it on the ballot as a referendum “failed,” according to Parker and Feldman, despite needing only 17,000-odd signatures. The matter is now in the courts and the issue is becoming more and more heated as time goes by, with Houston’s churches serving as hothouses of sentiment opposed to the ordinance.

Thus Parker pursued subpoenas to get her hands on the sermons of the offending pastors, in an effort to…do what, exactly? Serve them up to the IRS as having violated the terms of their tax-exempt status? Smear them publicly as bigots?

Either way it really doesn’t matter. Even if you support the concept of anti-discrimination against gay, lesbian or whatever other different flavors of sexuality there might be you’ve got to see this for what it is – a definitive abuse of power by a tyrannical mayor completely off her rocker.

Would something like this happen in Baton Rouge? Well, most people think the current mayor Kip Holden is a bit more laissez-faire in his approach to political opponents; Holden usually is satisfied to demean them in public and not aim for their civil liberties. But Holden’s term in office will be up in 2016, and there is no telling what fresh personality flaws might be present in his successor. The presence of odiously-abusable legislation like a “Fairness Ordinance” has, as we’ve seen, enabled Houston’s megalomaniacal mayor to overstep into the realm of tyranny; why take a chance on anything like this, ever?

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