Texas Senator Ted Cruz has joined in criticizing the actions of Houston attorneys defending the city's gay-inclusive anti-discrimination law.

After opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) failed in an attempt to put the law on the ballot in November, they filed a lawsuit claiming that city officials had illegally rejected their petition for a public vote.

The city sent out subpoenas to several pastors asking them to hand over “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

Cruz slammed the move in a statement, calling it “shocking and shameful.”

“This is wrong. It's unbefitting of Texans, and it's un-American,” Cruz said. “The government has no business asking pastors to turn over their sermons. These subpoenas are a grotesque abuse of power, and the officials who approved them should be held accountable by the people. The mayor should be ashamed. And we should all be proud to stand up and defend the pastors who are resisting these blatant attempts to suppress their First Amendment rights.”

A spokesperson for Mayor Parker told The Huffington Post that she was unaware of the request.

“The subpoenas were issued by pro bono attorneys helping the city prepare for the trial regarding the petition to repeal the new Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in January,” Evans said. “Neither the mayor nor City Attorney David Feldman were aware the subpoenas had been issued until Tuesday. Both agree the original documents were overly broad. The city will move to narrow the scope during an upcoming court hearing. Attorney Feldman says the focus should be only on communications related to the HERO petition process.”

At a press conference to denounce the subpoenas, Cruz said the city has no authority to “silence the church.” And in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network's (CBN) David Brody, Cruz agreed when asked whether the government was attempting to silence pastors who oppose marriage equality.

When Brody asked whether we'll “soon go through a period where pastors are hauled off to jail for a hate crime because they are speaking for traditional marriage,” Cruz responded by saying, “I think that is a real risk and you and I have both pointed to that risk in the past.”