Big-city mayor calling own citizens ‘criminals’

Testimony in a trial for Houston area pastors suing the city to have an election on a transgender ordinance has begun, with one key leader for the ministers accusing the city of calling “an entire community of churches and citizens criminals.”The trial is being held on a lawsuit brought by a coalition of pastors and groups in Houston who objected to an ordinance council members adopted at the urging of lesbian Mayor Annise Parker. It requires Houston businesses and organizations to recognize transgenders with certain rights and privileges. The pastors immediately collected signatures to overturn the ordinance but the city’s lawyer, working on behalf of Parker, stepped into the dispute after the city secretary had affirmed there were enough valid signatures and disqualified pages and pages of names.Pastor Dave Welch, of the Houston Area Pastor Council, was on the stand as the trial opened Tuesday, responding to claims from the city that the names were not handled properly.“Given the fact that we preverified over 30,000 signatures as being registered voters and every single person went before a notary public, and swore and oath, before the law, that they indeed were the person who gathered those signatures, many of which came out of the churches, we had every reason to believe those were done honestly, ethically and properly before the law,” he told the court.


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