Houston narrows scope of subpoena issued to five pastors

Houston Mayor Annise Parker has confirmed that the controversial subpoenas filed against five city pastors and religious leaders have been revised to narrow down and clarify their reach.

The subpoenas that specifically relate to Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) are demanding pastors to turn over any sermons that deal with homosexuality and gender identity issues. The subpoenas were issued by City Attorney David Feldman's office last month but they came to light recently when lawyers for the pastors filed a motion to quash the subpoenas.

Announcing the recent development, Parker said the subpoenas were never intended to intrude on any manners of faith or religion. The mayor stressed that it was about the petition process.

In a newly released statement, Parker said, "This is not about what anyone is preaching, this is not about religion, this is not about anyone exercising their religion... this is about the petition process. We don't want their sermons."

Parker's statement followed Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's harshly-worded letter to the city attorney, in which Abbott called the subpoenas "aggressive and invasive" action, and demanded the city authorities to roll back the action.

The five pastors are Pastor Steve Riggle, Pastor David Welch, Pastor Hernan Castano, Pastor Khan Huynh, and Ms. Magda Hermida.