Woodfill v. Parker

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Description:  The city of Houston attempted to subpoena 17 different types of communications belonging to several area pastors in a lawsuit in which the pastors are not even involved. City officials were upset over a voter lawsuit filed after the city council rejected valid petitions to repeal a law that, in part, allows members of the opposite sex into each other’s restrooms. The city illegitimately demanded that the pastors, who were not party to the lawsuit, turn over their constitutionally protected speeches, e-mails, text messages, and other communications with their congregants simply so the city could see if the pastors had ever opposed or criticized the city.

ADF: Texas high court right to stop Houston’s abuse of power

Friday, July 24, 2015

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley regarding the Texas Supreme Court’s decision Friday that requires the city of Houston to either repeal or put to a vote a city ordinance that qualified for the ballot but that city officials illegally kept off. Those officials, including Mayor Anise Parker, also unsuccessfully attempted to subpoena the sermons and communications of pastors, known as the “Houston 5,” whom ADF represented in Woodfill v. Parker:

“Public officials should not be allowed to run roughshod over the right of the people to decide these types of issues, especially when the citizens of Houston clearly met all the qualifications for having their voices heard. The subpoenas we successfully fought were only one element of this disgraceful abuse of power. The scandal began when the city arbitrarily threw out the valid signatures of thousands of voters. The city did this all because it was bent on pushing through its deeply unpopular ordinance at any cost. The Texas Supreme Court has rightly rectified this wrong.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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Additional resources: Woodfill v. Parker

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Previous news releases:

  • 2014-10-29: Houston mayor withdraws subpoenas, but scandal not fully resolved
  • 2014-10-23: US civil rights commissioner to Houston mayor: Withdraw subpoenas of pastors
  • 2014-10-17: Houston still doesn’t get it with ‘revised’ subpoenas
  • 2014-10-16: No support for claim that Houston is ‘backing off’ subpoenas
  • 2014-10-13: Houston, we have a problem

  • Roger Kiska: Muzzling cultural dissent, at home and abroad (Washington Examiner, 2014-10-22)
  • Joseph La Rue: City not backing off on 'the Houston 5' (CNS News, 2014-10-17)
  • Matt Bowman: Three reasons that Houston's subpoenas are a big deal (Canon & Culture, 2014-10-16)

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