Religious-righters in Houston are still foaming at the mouth over the election last fall of an openly gay candidate, then-city controller Annise Parker, as mayor. As reported last fall, religious extremists disingenuously claimed Parker had made her sexual orientation “a central part of her campaign” and warned that her election would be “destructive to the family.”
Among those behind the anti-Parker smear campaign was Dave Welch, head of the far-right Houston Area Pastor Council. Now the Pastor Council is denouncing two executive orders Parker signed last week protecting city employees from harassment or discrimination in hiring, promotion and contracting based on sexual orientation and gender identity. They also allow transgendered city employees — but not nonemployees — to use restroom facilities in city-owned buildings for the gender with which they identify.
In a press release today, the Pastor Council’s spokespeople warned of “cross-dressing men invading” women’s restrooms as a result. And Pastor Hernan Castano, senior pastor of Iglesia Rios de Aceite, argued that the orders were too broad:
“There are currently no legal boundaries of either of these two new categories of minority status, unlike the color of a person’s skin, their biological gender or religious faith. Protecting ‘expression’ and ‘identity’ are designed to drop the bottom out of our moral foundation. This is not only morally wrong it exposes the city and therefore the taxpayers to endless litigation and expenses. It is irresponsible and indefensible.”
You can expect the culture war over Parker’s mayoral administration to continue for quite some time.