Gay rights petitions in Texas await court dates, votes

PLANO, Texas (Christian Examiner) — A coalition of churches and civic leaders this week, Plano Citizens United, cleared the first hurdle in rescinding a city ordinance that legal experts said would stymie free speech and religious liberty, while opponents of a similar ordinance in Houston prepare to take their fight to court.

With no preexisting ministerial alliance in place, Plano churches were caught flat-footed when the city council, led by Mayor Harry LaRosilier, passed an ordinance Dec. 8 creating a protected class of citizen based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

With help from the Houston pastors’ coalition, opposition to the ordinance was hastily organized and a successful petition drive mounted just before the end of the year.

In order to force the repeal process, the coalition needed signatures of 3,822 registered Plano voters. The volunteer group verified over 4,000 signatures before submitting almost 7,000 to the city secretary Jan. 20.

“The mayor has been adamant,” said Mike Buster, executive pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. “He will not discuss this with anyone. The citizens of Plano said we will discuss it. We will vote on it.”