Tony Perkins / Oct. 7, 2015

Houston Still Has a Problem

Houston Mayor Annise Parker (D) promised not to make homosexuality an issue in her administration. Instead, she's made it *the* issue — around which everything else revolves. As the leader of the fourth largest city in America, Parker jumped at the chance to use her power in support of her own personal LGBT agenda. An open lesbian, the mayor has tried to bypass the laws on marriage, declared Valentine's Day "Freedom to Marry Day," and forced through the most radical piece of special rights legislation the city has ever seen.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker (D) promised not to make homosexuality an issue in her administration. Instead, she’s made it the issue — around which everything else revolves. As the leader of the fourth largest city in America, Parker jumped at the chance to use her power in support of her own personal LGBT agenda. An open lesbian, the mayor has tried to bypass the laws on marriage, declared Valentine’s Day “Freedom to Marry Day,” and forced through the most radical piece of special rights legislation the city has ever seen.

Like other controversial sexual orientation-gender identity (SOGI) measures, Houston’s not only orders businesses to celebrate a radical definition of sexuality (or be punished), but allows men to use women’s showers and restrooms (and vice-versa) based on their “perceived” gender. Now, after months of trying to sabotage the repeal process, strong-arm local churches, and subpoena sermons, the mayor will have what she did everything to prevent: a city-wide vote. More than a year in the making, November 3rd’s ballot referendum will give the people the voice Parker abused her power to deny them.

After a series of court battles, the citizens managed to get the question on the ballot — and capitalized on the groundswell of growing opposition. Even former Houston Astro Lance Berkman felt so strongly about the measure that he released an ad urging people not to allow “allow troubled men who claim to be women to enter women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.” The liberal side blasted back denying the charge. “Proposition 1 will not allow men to enter women’s restrooms,” they claimed. But, as the Washington Times pointed out, “By ‘men,’ however, the campaign is excluding biological men who identify as women.” If parents — or anyone — dared to block someone from entering a restroom where young girls were, they’d be slapped fines up to $5,000!

Meanwhile, money for Parker’s crusade has streamed in from all across the country — as much as $1.2 million for her misinformation campaign. But even that may not be enough to counter the backlash from pastors and local citizens who refuse to be steamrolled by the national forces of political correctness. They understand, as we do, that this is about a lot more than even bathrooms. It’s about criminalizing religious liberty. Liberals would have new grounds to attack bakers, florists, planners, musicians and others who might decline a same-sex ceremony because of their beliefs. And as much as Mayor Parker would like to keep the lid on the serious fallout for freedom, Texans know all too well where Proposition 1 would lead.

Months ago, Parker ruffled feathers by declaring to the city that “This is personal.” Well, now it’s personal to everyone — including every Christian, mom, dad, and businessman in the city. And a vote for the ordinance is a vote against them. We join our Houston friends in urging a No vote on Proposition 1. Early voting begins October 19.

Planned Parenthood’s Breech of Trust

Planned Parenthood employees may think carving up baby parts is a funny business, but taxpayers aren’t laughing. In new footage released on TheBlaze TV, David Daleiden shows the crassness of the organization’s Greater Texas branch when its representative joked about harvesting brains. Adding more fuel to the fire that Cecile Richards’s group is manipulating abortions to peddle better baby parts, yet another woman is caught on tape explaining that she prefers “breech” procedures for extracting organs.

“Of those two 20-week cases last week, for example, what was the intactness of the specimen like?” Daleiden asks, posing as a buyer. “It was trunk intact,” the Planned Parenthood rep explains. “They’re usually — what I’ll do — if it’s a breach presentation, I’ll remove the extremities first — the lower extremities — and then go for the spine and sort of break it down that way … if it’s a breech presentation.”

Laughing, she says she hasn’t gotten the calvarium yet, but teases, “We’ll just give you something to strive for!” The giggling is a disturbing soundtrack for such a scary admission: that Planned Parenthood is willing to put women in harm’s way to protect a baby’s lucrative parts. Other tapes suggested as much, but this will give the House another reason to pursue a special panel to investigate Planned Parenthood.

Tonight, members will vote on whether to create a subcommittee under Energy and Commerce for the express purpose of probing Planned Parenthood’s wrongdoing. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who would chair the panel if the House approves, understands the severity of the allegations. “What people want us to do is get to the bottom of what has transpired with Planned Parenthood and the utilization of taxpayer funds. There is frustration from our constituents. The more we know, the more questions we have.” And with the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner, those questions span well beyond Planned Parenthood. While the Ohio leader may have dodged a bullet by stepping down, the next Speaker of the House will have his work cut out for him in December, when these issues all come to a budgetary head.

Under the two-month spending patch passed by Congress last week, the issue of Planned Parenthood will be looming even larger when the chambers come together to piece together the appropriations bills into one giant omnibus. Coming to a fiscal consensus will be even more difficult for the speaker who inherits the Planned Parenthood controversy — and all the funding questions therein. Let’s hope that whoever the House picks is ready and willing to lead that fight, because it isn’t going away any time soon.

Give Me Liberty to Give Me Death?

It was a bill that no one should feel right celebrating — but that’s exactly what proponents of California’s assisted suicide law did [Monday]. After a lengthy back-and-forth, liberal Governor Jerry Brown ultimately signed the measure, granting what Washington State, Montana, Vermont, and Oregon already have: the “right” to take your own life with medical help. With an innocuous name, the “End of Life Option Act,” California sparked a passionate debate over whether doctors should assist in the killing process.

“In the end,” Governor Brown argued, “I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death. I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.” Instead of making it easier for people to die, shouldn’t we should concentrate on making it easier for them to live?

That’s what several Californians, including the Catholic Church, argued. All this legislation does is further the far-Left philosophy (like we witnessed in ObamaCare) that ending people’s lives is easier (and less expensive) than caring for them. And for some, Californians Against Assisted Suicide pointed out, “Adding this so-called ‘choice’ into our dysfunctional health care system will push people into cheaper lethal options.” There’s no freedom in taking a life — at any stage.

Unfortunately, this is the lie of the culture of death that’s expanding right along with abortion. Both movements are fueled by a selfish belief that people are burdens, not blessings. But as far too many people find out — too late — ending a life will always cause more suffering than it cures.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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