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SUNDAY, MAY 25 - ACTION ITEMS FOR CHURCHES IN AND AROUND THE CITY OF HOUSTON:

  1. Ask congregants to call and email ALL At-large council members, the mayor and your city councilman (list below) to respectfully insist they vote NO on this ordinance (a sample script is provided below).
  2. Pastors AND congregants, attend and testify at Houston City Council Public Testimony session Wednesday, May 28 at 1:30 pm (be there at least one hour early , Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby, (Main Underground Parking on Rusk St.).(Sign up at the City Secretary's Office (832.393.1100) AT LEAST ONE DAY BEFORE THE MEETING.)
  3. Post on website, text, email, tweet and Facebook all information!

BASIC OVERVIEW OF WHY MAYOR PARKER’S “EQUAL RIGHTS” ORDINANCE IS NOT NEEDED, IS A THREAT AGAINST FREEDOM AND GRANTS INAPPROPRIATE INVESTIGATIVE POWER TO CITY GOVERNMENT.

 
OVERVIEW: All discrimination protections for the “Protected Characteristics” in the new ordinance CURRENTLY EXIST for city government.  All other legitimate anti-discrimination areas in private employment, housing, etc. exist in state and/or federal law.  This ordinance only serves to impose sexual orientation, gender identy/expression and genetic information as protected classes AS BEING EQUAL TO RACE, RELIGION AND SEX onto the private sector of Houston, with centralized power of investigation, fines and punishment under one person - the Mayor*.  There is NO evidence of ANY systemic discrimination EVEN if we accepted the premise of sexual orientation, etc. (*The Mayor appoints the City Attorney, to whom the Director of the Office of Inspector General is directly accountable and SOLELY in charge of investigations.)

Pulpit Overview Points:

1. Mayor Parker’s proposed ordinance will open ladies restrooms to men who feel or claim to feel that they are a woman, exposing women and girls in particular to constant threat of being violated.

2. Declaring that sexual preference and gender identity/expression/behavior are equal to race and should have equal protection under the law if offensive to those who have truly suffered centuries of discrimination because of their skin color.  Most importantly it calls our God a liar according to Genesis 1:27.

3. Forcing businesses to violate their beliefs in practice and at their facilities with threat of criminal punishment and fines is unconstitutional and oppressive. 

KEY POINTS: 

  1. It will by government decree open thousands of women’s restrooms, showers and girls locker rooms in the city to biological males!  Predators and peepers can use it as cover to violate our women and children! There are actual cases in other cities around the nation that validate these concerns.  A biological male simply claims that his “perceived gender identity” is female, walk into a women’s restroom, locker room or shower and under this ordinance would be protected. 
  2. As has already happened in other states, business owners will be forced to violate their faith, beliefs and consciences.  How soon will it be before a photographer, florist, wedding facility and others are prosecuted for declining to provide service for a same-sex ceremony even if their faith convictions are violated? 
  3. It is patently offensive to claim that a sexual lifestyle or gender confusion are equal to skin color, AND to assert that these sexual lifestyles are a class that has suffered any documented discrimination in employment, housing and public facilities that rises to the need of imposing this extensive policy over all.
  4. Where is the “emergency”?  This ordinance is SIMPLY NOT NEEDED.  What is the compelling government interest in creating a broad scope of investigative power over the private sector and creating serious legal jeopardy? There is no evidence of any discrimination that rises to the level of imposing the threat of fines and punishment on ALL citizens and MOST businesses in the city.
  5. Protections against wrongful discrimination based on legitimate protected classes such as race, ethnicity, religion and sex are already specified in state and federal law.  Employment and Housing in particular are highly regulated and scrutinized already, so again – why is this necessary?
  6. The definition of “Gender Identity” is infinitely vague.  “…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 assigned at birth.” How do you protect against “identification, appearance, expression or behavior” discrimination?  Who is the arbiter?           
  7. This leaves businesses vulnerable to prosecution and litigation they cannot avoid. All it takes is for a person to claim they were discriminated against because of an “identity” or “expression” or “behavior” that may or may not be even visible and businesses – and eventually churches – are defendants under city investigation.  You cannot defend against what you cannot define.
  8. Why should the 99% of the population who are NOT gender confused be forced to accommodate the less than 1% who are?  Why is the physical and emotional safety of women and children who accept their birth gender less important than the tiny few who suffer from what has always been considered a psychological disorder?  It is clear that from the beginning, “He created them male and female” (Gen. 1:27) and we choose to stand with God. 
  9. Places inappropriate investigative authority under the office City Attorney as compared to its purpose under city ordinance. The Office of Inspector General, under the authority of the City Attorney, currently only has jurisdiction within city government with specific limits.  It was created by Mayor Parker to investigate “allegations of employee misconduct” (EO 1-39, 3/2011) FOR CITY GOVERNMENT NOT THE ENTIRE PRIVATE SECTOR. “The city attorney shall represent the city in all actions and proceedings…. He shall represent the city in all other legal matters…he shall render opinions and advice to the mayor or city council…” This ordinance adds criminal investigations to OIG without regard to its ability or qualifications to perform such actions.  It gives the City Attorney prosecutorial powers completely unintended for that office.

 

SUMMARY:

There is no evidence it is needed, it creates vague and open ended protections based on sexual behavior and gender confusion, and finally that it forces businesses across the city to open their restrooms to those who claim to be opposite gender.  This exposes women and girls in particular to being violated and exploited by predators. It turns business owners into criminals for practicing their business according to their beliefs and convictions - such as if a florist declined to provide flowers to a same-sex "blessing" ceremony.

District A

Brenda Stardig

Phone: 832.393.3010

districta@houstontx.gov

District B

Jerry Davis

Phone: 832.393.3009

districtb@houstontx.gov

District C

Ellen Cohen

Phone: 832.393.3004

districtc@houstontx.gov

District D

Dwight Boykins

Phone: 832.393.3001

districtd@houstontx.gov

District E

Dave Martin

Phone: 832.393.3008

districte@houstontx.gov

District F

Richard Nguyen

Phone: 832.393.3002

districtf@houstontx.gov

District G

Oliver Pennington

Phone: 832.393.3007

districtg@houstontx.gov

District H

Ed Gonzalez

Phone: 832.393.3003

districth@houstontx.gov

District I

Robert Gallegos

Phone: 832.393.3011

districti@houstontx.gov

District J

Mike Laster

Phone: 832.393.3015

districtj@houstontx.gov

District K

Larry Green

Phone: 832.393.3016

districtk@houstontx.gov

At Large 1

Stephen C. Costello

Phone: 832.393.3014

atlarge1@houstontx.gov

At Large 2

David Robinson

Phone: 832.393.3013

atlarge2@houstontx.gov

At Large 3

Michael Kubosh

Phone: 832.393.3005

atlarge3@houstontx.gov

At Large 4

C.O. "Brad" Bradford

Phone: 832.393.3012

atlarge4@houstontx.gov

At Large 5

Jack Christie

Phone: 832.393.3017

atlarge5@houstontx.gov

Mayor

Annise D. Parker

 Phone: 713.837.0311

mayor@houstontx.gov

 

SAMPLE CALL OR EMAIL REMARKS:

“I would like to register my strong opposition to Mayor Parker’s proposed ordinance because there is no evidence it is needed, it creates vague and open ended protections based on sexual behavior and gender confusion, it forces businesses across the city to open their restrooms to those who claim to be opposite gender as well as threatens us with a crime for practicing our faith.  I am asking you/Council member ________ to vote no and would like to know your/his/her position.  Thank you for taking my call.

 

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