A few short weeks ago voters in the City of Houston overwhelming defeated the Prop 1 ordinance subjecting business owners to speech fines and creating a defense to prosecution for serial peepers into women’s restrooms. One of the events leading up to Election Day was a subpoena issued by City of Houston Mayor Annise Parker to Pastor Steve Riggle for production of his sermons and a laundry list of additional documents pertaining to efforts to defeat Prop 1. Many people said this subpoena was a mechanism to harass Houston pastors.
Describing the subpoena “discovery requests” as “vexatious and harassing”, the Alliance For Defending Freedom published a press release citing the chilling effect on future attempts to use the referendum process to overturn Houston City Councils’ actions.
“The ADFbrief accompanying the motionfiled in the District Court of Harris County to quash the subpoena “discovery requests” explains that they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious,” irrelevant to the lawsuit, and will have a profoundly negative effect on free speech and the electoral process should they be allowed to move forward.
“The message is clear: oppose the decisions of city government, and drown in unwarranted, burdensome discovery requests,” the brief states. “These requests, if allowed, will have a chilling effect on future citizens who might consider circulating referendum petitions because they are dissatisfied with ordinances passed by the City Council. Not only will the Nonparty Pastors be harmed if these discovery requests are allowed, but the People will suffer as well. The referendum process will become toxic and the People will be deprived of an important check on city government provided them by the Charter.”
So when this press release from State Representative Debbie Riddle’s office came into my inbox last week I thought—bend over, here it comes again—more harassment in store for the pastors—and a State Representative who shares their values.
REPRESENTATIVE DEBBIE RIDDLE RECEIVES OPEN RECORDS REQUEST FROM PRO-LGBT ORGANIZATION, CAMPAIGN FOR ACCOUNTABILITY
AUSTIN – Today, State Representative Debbie Riddle complied with an open records request by Scott Hodes and Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a D.C based non-profit organization appearing to be a pro-LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) organization. In their request, Mr. Hodes states,
“By way of background, since 2013 , the Texas Legislature has introduced more than 20 bills ‘that would allow discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.’…”Many organizations such as Concerned Women for America and Texas Values have publicly supported many of these bills. You (Rep. Debbie Riddle) recently introduced House Bill 1747 which mandated criminal prosecution for the bathroom use by transgender people and House Bill 1748 which mandated criminal prosecution for locker room use by a transgender person. The other listed organizations (in the open records request) have been identified publicly with supporting these efforts nationwide.”
Rep Riddle said, “I am proud of my legislative record and I am proud to work side by side with people and organizations in defense of Texas’ heritage and tradition of religious liberty. We cannot be bullied by groups who would shame us for standing up for our faith. This coming legislative session I will continue to stand strong on these issues and will file legislation to keep men out of women’s bathrooms in Texas. This is clearly a politically motivated attack because of my staunch opposition to the HERO ordinance in Houston. I represent the values of House District 150; their values are my values.”
The open records request from Campaign for Accountability asked for communication between Rep. Riddle, her staff and 43 named individuals and groups. Below is a copy of the section of the request with a list of the information sought and the list of people and groups in which CfA has interest.
So who was CfA interested in?
Among the list of groups and people Campaign for Accountability sought communications from include: Jonathan Saenz, Dave Welch, Steven Hotze, Cathie Adams, Jared Woodfill, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Family Research Council, Heritage Foundation and the National Organization for Marriage.
You can view the press release and entire list below.
I’m reminded of California’s Prop 8 voter-established amendment defining marriage as between one woman & one man which resulted in an anti-entrepreneurship effort to extort money from a list of business people and force another to sell their business.
Let’s hope we don’t see the same anti-capitalist, anti-entrepreneurship efforts and shakedown tactics materialize here.