An estimated 6,000 people attended a
rally Sunday in Houston in support of five local pastors who were
asked by the city to hand over their sermons as part of a lawsuit
seeking to repeal the city's gay-inclusive non-discrimination
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.
Last week, the city withdrew its plan
to subpoena the sermons as they relate to the ordinance and
At last night's “I Stand Sunday”
event, held at Houston's Grace Community Church, speakers chided
Parker, calling her requests an attack on religious liberty.
Pastor Khanh Huynhm, who fled his
native Vietnam to escape religious persecution, warned that America
was falling under tyranny.
“I'm facing the same marching boot of
tyranny right here where I live,” he
Tony Perkins, president of the
Christian conservative Family Research Council (FRC), also addressed
“This was never really about
subpoenas. It was not about sermons or speeches. It was about
political intimidation. It was about trying to silence the voices of
the churches and the pastors,” he said.
“It's time that we stand once again
for religious freedom here in America and give the world hope,”
Perkins, a strong opponent of gay rights.
Houston Chronicle reported that LGBT rights advocate GetEqual
Texas organized a demonstration a few blocks away.
“You cannot use your faith as a blank
check to discriminate against others,” the group's Tiffani Bishop
Kristen Capps, 47, who joined a smaller
counter-protest action collecting coats for needy LGBT youth held
before Sunday's event, said the five pastors “have done a great job
of portraying themselves as victims.”
Notable speakers at “I Stand Sunday”
included former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Fox News
contributor Todd Starnes and Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil
New Civil Right Movement wrote about the hijacking of the Twitter
hashtag #iStandSunday, which was being used by organizers to promote
the event. Pro-equality tweets using #iStandSunday drowned out those