by Bob Price
Houston’s bathrooms, showers, and dressing facilities will now be open to all, regardless of gender, gender identity, gender expression, or other predilection of gender behavior. By an 11-6 vote of the Houston City Council, Mayor Annise Parker achieved this as the crowning jewel of her tenure as mayor.
Mayor Parker, Houston’s first openly gay mayor, said passing this ordinance was not the most important thing she has done in office, according to an article in the Fairfield Citizen, but it is the “most personally meaningful thing I will ever do as mayor.”
Houston Council Member, At Large Position 3, Michael Kubosh took exception to this. Kubosh told KPRC TV, “It’s going to criminalize people that have been found in violation in the ordinance and the fine could be between $500 to $5,000.”
In an interview with Breitbart Texas, Kubosh said, “The system is flawed and has little, if any, transparency. I did everything I could do to get the ordinance delayed or defeated, but the mayor controlled the whole process.” Kubosh said he voted against the ordinance along with District A Council Member Brenda Stardig, District D Council Member Dwight Boykins, District E Council Member Dave Martin, District G Council Member Oliver Pennington and At Large Position 5 Council Member Jack Christi.
Stephen Costello, the At Large Position 1 Council Member who supported Mayor Parker on the Proposition 1 “Rain Tax” ordinance, joined ten other council members in standing beside Mayor Parker.
The ordinance was strongly opposed by many black pastors, members of the Houston Area Pastors Council. 150 pastors from the conservative group representing a diverse coalition, ethnically and denominationally, angrily walked out of the council meeting today after two prominent African American pastors who represented the group were snubbed by the council body. According to a press release obtained by Breitbart Texas, Council Member Boykins asked to have two black pastors, Willie Davis and Max Miller, to be allowed to be moved up in the speakers list and speak out against the ordinance. It is a common practice by council members and one that is rarely opposed by other members.
In fact, Council Member Mike Laster had just previously been allowed the same courtesy to be extended to move up four pro-GLBT speakers in the order to speak before eight members plus Mayor Parker voted against Boykin’s request. One of the black pastors called it the equivalent of being “sent to the back of the bus.” After the public snubbing of the two black pastors by council, the 150 plus pastors present walked out of the meeting in protest. Immediately after this the council allowed another pro-GLBT speaker to be moved up. Council Member Bradford was the member who voiced the objection to Boykins’ request and called for the vote. Standard protocol is usually to allow the courtesy by unanimous consent.
“It was one of the most flagrantly disrespectful actions taken by an elected body toward its own constituency I have witnessed in over thirty years of involvement,” said Rev. Dave Welch on behalf of the pastors’ coalition involving eight major denominational and inter-denominational pastor networks. Continue reading here (+ video).