By BNG staff
Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced Oct. 29 the city will withdraw subpoenas of five pastors which lawyers had sought as evidence in a legal suit seeking repeal of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance, the Houston Chronicle reported today.
The subpoenas drew outrage from a wide spectrum of Christians, including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Southern Baptist Convention and two Baptist state conventions in Texas, as well as the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
Parker said in a news conference that two meetings yesterday, one with local pastors and another with national clergy, persuaded her to pull the subpoenas.
According to the Chronicle, Parker said the move is in the best interest of Houston and not an admission that the requests were in any way illegal or intended to intrude on religious liberties. The subpoenas were part of a discovery phase in a suit filed by opponents of the equal rights ordinance.
The ordinance, which does not apply to churches, bans discrimination “based on an individual’s sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or pregnancy.”
The ordinance defines gender identity as “an individual’s innate identification, appearance, expression or behavior as either male or female, although the same may not correspond to the individual’s body or gender as assigned at birth.”