As expected, the former chairman of the Harris County GOP and several Christian pastors have filed suit against Houston after the petition campaign to repeal the city’s LGBT rights ordinance was rejected due to a lack of valid signatures.
Plaintiff and conservative activist Jared Woodfill said his group is asking a state district judge to declare that City Secretary Anna Russell followed her legal duty and verified a sufficient number of signatures to force a referendum before City Attorney David Feldman illegally inserted himself into the process. Feldman on Monday said his staff found less than half of the petition’s 5,200 pages were filed in keeping with legal requirements in the city charter, invalidating thousands of signatures, leaving opponents roughly 2,000 names short of the 17,269-signature threshold needed to force a vote. “If he felt there were underlying problems with the petition then he, like us, has the right to file a lawsuit if he doesn’t agree with what the city secretary did,” Woodfill said. “Going in before she’s ever made the decision and influencing her is inappropriate, it’s illegal and we believe the court will agree with us and that folks will have their voices heard in November on this issue.” Feldman declined to comment until he had seen a copy of the lawsuit, but earlier Tuesday disputed the idea that his involvement crossed any ethical or legal lines.
A spokesman for Mayor Annise Parker said that her office is confident that their review of the petitions will stand up in court. (Tipped by JMG reader Damon)