So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. -Isaiah 59:19
We haven’t heard much from the ongoing battle in Houston against Lesbian Mayor Annise Parker‘s unlawful bathroom ordinance. However, the Texas Supreme Court handed down a victory for the Church on Friday.
In a twelve page ruling the high court must either put the ordinance to a vote or repeal it.
“If the city council does not repeal the ordinance by August 24, 2015, then by that date the city council must order that the ordinance be put to popular vote during the November 2015 election,” reads the ruling.
The court also wrote, “‘the power of . . . referendum . . . is the exercise by the people of a power reserved to them,’ and this power should be protected.”
They went on to state, “Second, city officials must perform their ministerial duties.” Notice that term “ministerial.” It comes from Romans 13:1-5. “But the city council did not do so. Instead, it refused to fulfill its ministerial duty, forcing the petition organizers to file suit,” read the opinion.
“Once the city council received the city secretary’s certification, it had a ministerial duty to act,” the court’s ruling read. “According to the charter, following the city secretary’s certification, ‘the council shall immediately reconsider such ordinance or resolution and, if it does not entirely repeal the same, shall submit it to popular vote at the next city general election.'”
The ruling continued, “Faced with the city secretary’s certification, the city council had no discretion but to repeal the ordinance or proceed with the election process. If the city council believed the city secretary abused her discretion in certifying the petition or otherwise erred in her duties, it was nevertheless obligated to fulfill its duties under the charter and thereafter seek any affirmative relief to which it might be entitled.
“When officials refuse to do so, and when there is no adequate remedy by appeal, mandamus may issue,” the ruling continued.
The court then concluded “that the Houston City Council has not performed a ministerial duty and there is no adequate remedy by appeal. Accordingly, we conditionally grant mandamus relief.”
Thus, the ordinance has been suspended by the court until either it is repealed by the City of Houston or is put on a referendum in November 2105. As a result, Parker’s attorneys made demands via a subpoena for the sermons of pastors in the area.
If you recall, the city had illegally put the ordinance into place and was called out on it, resulting in a citizen’s petition to put the measure on the ballot in 2014. The necessary signatures were obtained and the city secretary, Anna Russell, who has served Houston for more than 40 years, validated the signatures to determine that the petition had met the legal requirements, which it did. In fact, it got three times more signatures than required.
But the City of Houston changed their story to claim the signatures were never validated. They openly lied as Ms. Russell confirmed in her official report about the petition, Russell said, “As of July 27, 2014, the number of qualified city of Houston voters who signed the petition had been verified with a margin of error.”
Russell also claimed the city attorney David Feldman attempted to get her to engage in illegal activity by altering her findings.
Pastors in the Houston area and across the county stood against the measure, flooding Mayor Parker’s office with Bibles and calling out to God to vindicate their stand. Several also openly stated that the mayor had used deception “every step of the way” in defending her unlawful ordinance.
At one point, Mayor Parker had openly said that the pastors had absolutely no right to a jury trial in the matter, but it seems that the law has won out and the court has ruled in the favor of the pastors and the people of Houston.
This is what happens when you don’t back down and you see justice through, trusting that God will vindicate His people, those who stand for righteousness.