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Houston subpoenas pastors’ sermons in fight over “bathroom bill”

Houston subpoenas pastors’ sermons in fight over “bathroom bill”

Attorneys for several Houston pastors are challenging the city’s attempts to subpoena their sermons as part of a lawsuit against the recently passed transgender-rights law, also known as the “bathroom bill.”

The subpoenas ask the pastors to turn over all communications related to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, which was approved by the city council in June. A citizen petition-gathering effort to overturn the measure was thwarted after the city attorney said the number of valid signatures fell short.

Opponents of the ordinance, which forbids businesses open to the public from stopping individuals from using opposite-sex bathrooms if their gender identity doesn’t match their biological sex, filed a lawsuit in August challenging the city attorney’s ruling.

Alliance Defending Freedom senior legal counsel Erik Stanley said the pastors subject to the city’s subpoenas are not party to the lawsuit.

“City council members are supposed to be public servants, not ‘Big Brother’ overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,” said Mr. Stanley in a statement. “In this case, they have embarked upon a witch-hunt, and we are asking the court to put a stop to it.”