LifesiteNews’ headline says it all: “Lesbian mayor who subpoenaed Houston pastors’ sermons seeks to deny them a jury trial in referendum dispute.” Oh the persecution. Once again Christians are savaged by marauding gay people.
First of all, contrary to LSN’s headline, those pastors are not a party to any litigation. Secondly, the city of Houston is the defendant in this matter. Christians aren’t being persecuted. Defendants usually get to choose whether they want a bench or jury trial. In this case the city’s attorneys have requested a bench trial. They believe that the facts and the law are on their side. Putting the matter before a jury might introduce emotion (even some homophobia) which is what the plaintiffs would prefer. And what the fuck does the sexual orientation of the mayor have to do with any of this?
This all goes back to a failed attempt by religious conservatives to get a referendum on the ballot to repeal one of Houston’s anti-discrimination ordinances passed by the city council. Some signatures were rejected because of technical flaws like the failure of the signature gatherer to sign the pages or a gatherer not being a resident of Houston (as is required by law). Now we learn that the city contends that a number of signatures were forged. The Houston Press was provided with an example. An awful lot of people seem to have the same handwriting: