LGBT advocates tell the truth about Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance on #IStandSunday

On Sunday, anti-LGBT activists gathered at Grace Community Church for a rally criticizing Houston's openly gay mayor, Annise Parker, and her support for the city's recently passed non-discrimination ordinance. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and other categories in employment, housing and public accommodation.

The gathering was called "I Stand Sunday" and opponents of HERO who attended used a hashtag with the same name to spread the word. However, LGBT advocates largely took control of the hashtag, pointing out the hateful comments and views fueling the event. Many advocates noted that the event was an attempt to rally voters in support of conservative candidates with anti-LGBT stances in the upcoming election. 

Anti-LGBT attendees and speakers at Grace Community Church's "I Stand Sunday" event were critical of Mayor Parker's decision, along with City Attorney David Feldman, to subpoena the sermons of five pastors who led the opposition to HERO. Opponents submitted 50,000 signatures calling for a referendum vote to repeal HERO, but failed to qualify after Mayor Parker and Feldman rejected thousands of signatures because they did not align with the city's legal standards.

HERO opponents responded with a lawsuit claiming that Feldman illegally participated in the signature verification process. Parker and Feldman then issued the subpoena to verify whether some pastors had provided instruction to congregants on filling out the anti-HERO petition. The subpoena has since been terminated.

LGBT advocates also gathered outside Grace Community Church to protest the "I Stand Sunday" event, and at Montrose Grace Place, an LGBT-affirming Lutheran church, leaders rallied in support of HERO and held a clothing drive for homeless LGBT youth

Read more about #IStandSunday from advocate Jeremy Hooper here.