Judge rules Wilson petitions must be counted

Thanks, Supreme Court. Thanks a hell of a lot.

Dave Wilson

Dave Wilson

City of Houston officials must count the signatures on a petition filed by anti-gay activist Dave Wilson, who is seeking a vote to amend the city charter and bar men “who perceive or express themselves as women” from entering women’s restrooms, a judge ruled Tuesday.

State District Judge Brent Gamble ruled Tuesday that City Secretary Anna Russell has a “nondiscretionary ministerial duty” to count and certify the signatures Wilson submitted in early July, and to present the count to City Council by Aug. 8.

City attorneys, however, intended to file an immediate appeal late Tuesday, said Mayor Annise Parker’s spokeswoman, Janice Evans. She did not comment further.


Wilson submitted a similar petition in April, but apparently misunderstood state law and was 300 signatures shy of the 20,000 names needed for a charter amendment. He said he started over and said he submitted more than 22,100 valid signatures on July 9.

For months now, Parker’s legal team has contended that Wilson’s proposed charter revision too closely resembles a repeal petition pertaining to the city’s equal rights ordinance that had been tied up in court. His effort is too late and should not be considered, they have said, because those seeking to repeal an ordinance must submit their petition within 30 days of the law going into effect; City Council passed the ordinance in May 2014.

Regardless of the future of Wilson’s petition, the equal rights ordinance itself likely will be put to a vote in November, thanks to a Texas Supreme Court ruling last week.

See here and here for the background. I suppose the good news, if you want to call it that, is that thanks to that awful Supreme Court ruling, we’re going to have a HERO repeal vote anyway, so what difference does this make at this point? Because let’s be clear about two things: One, Wilson’s efforts have totally been about trying to damage HERO. Anyone who believes otherwise also believes in the tooth fairy. And two, if we take that Supreme Court ruling on its face, Wilson could have simply signed the names of the first 22,000 or so registered Houston voters himself on his petitions. If all Anna Russell is supposed to do is check that yep, those are the names and addresses of registered Houston voters, then why not cheat a little to make sure you make it across the goal line? Who’s ever going to know?

OK, I’m being a little bitter here, but just a little. We’ll see what if anything comes of the city’s emergency appeal, but consider this: if we take to heart the core of the Obergfell and Windsor decisions – and Lawrence v. Texas before them – a law that is based on animus against a group of people cannot be constitutional. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems clear to me that Wilson’s hateful proposal could not survive judicial scrutiny if it were approved. But putting all that aside, thins is just wrong. It’s wrong to use the weight of a majority to push around a minority, and it’s wrong to put people’s humanity to a vote. Funny how a heathen like me understands that better than a “Christian” like Dave Wilson.

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13 Responses to Judge rules Wilson petitions must be counted

  1. Paul Kubosh says:


    and that is what I am talking about.

    Tag Dave Wilson to all Christians. Tag everyone that hates Gays to all Christians. There is nothing Christian about hate.

  2. Manuel Barrera says:

    Supreme Court did not rule that 22,000 signatures could all be fraud and the referendum would still be placed on the ballot. The City Secretary certified an amount higher than that required to place on the ballot. The City Attorney decided to do the Secretary’s job and tell her which ones were legitimate and which ones were not. Supreme Court said that is not the way it works.

    In regards to Wilson’s petition the City Secretary was told not to count and verify the signatures by the City Attorney. Guess what, she does check for fraud and duplication. I am sure that there is a homosexual group or groups out there that have also been combing the signatures looking for fraud, duplication, etc. All the court did was order the City Secretary to do is what the law requires her to do, count, check for fraud or other abnormalities. If there are sufficient valid signatures then she certifies.

    The homosexual community claims that the majority of the people support the ordinance so why worry about it?

  3. Manuel Barrera says:

    Paul did you know that just like you Dave has hired homosexuals and lesbians to work for him. Why would anyone that hates “gays” hire them?

    If we are going to blame religion, let us not leave out all the other major religions that believe that homosexual behavior is wrong.

  4. You misunderstand me, Paul. I’m not saying anything about Christians in general. I’m saying that Dave Wilson calls himself a Christian, but he doesn’t act like one. Nothing in his actions, in this case and in many other cases, is remotely in line with the teachings of Christ. I find it ironic that I understand this while he doesn’t.

  5. Paul Kubosh says:


    You have a point. However, I don’t think those religions just like Christianity should attacked either. It is clear that the City Secretary has a ministerial duty to count the signatures.

    I was pretty confident that the District Court was going to have to rule that way. The place to attack the election will be after the election. I am not an election code lawyer so I don’t know how that will go.

    What the City should have done (instead of using pro bono lawyers) is hire everyone’s Red Light Camera Hero



    surely could have used that Federal Court ruling by Judge Lynn Hughes to block everything. Since the Federal Judge has already ruled that you can’t have a Charter Amendment voted on that will in effect repeal an ordinance.


    would have fixed that.

  6. Paul Kubosh says:

    Sorry Kuff,

    I couldn’t help but have fun with the ANDY TAYLOR pokes.

    As to the HERO ordinance in my opinion its a shame the way all of this went down. There is no doubt there is discrimination in the City against openly Homeosexual citizens. I am of the opinion that a good ordinance could have been passed that would have been supported by all sides. (crazy people excluded in my definition of all sides.)

    I am also of the opinion that if an ordinance is passed it will have zero effect on discrimination because HATE IS HATE. You can’t legislate that away. However, some people would be able to sleep better at night knowing it is out there so maybe that would be worth something.

    You say…

    “It’s wrong to use the weight of a majority to push around a minority, and it’s wrong to put people’s humanity to a vote.”

    you have a point. The worst part of all of this is the pain that we will all have to go through no matter what the outcome. When I vote will I have to pass judgment on my fellow citizens because of the way they choose to live their lives. I can only imagine the pain Homosexuals will go through when they wake on the day after the election and find that the Charter Amendment passes. I feel certain that if I was Gay that I would feel like my fellow Citizens hate me.

    I am not looking forward to this.

  7. Manuel Barrera says:

    Paul, Andy Taylor did not do as well in Arlington blocking the charter amendment (red lights). District Judge said the duties of the City Secretary and City Council are ministerial.

    Taylor did use the ruling from the Federal Judge, Judge did not buy what he was selling nor did the Appeals Court as they refused to even hear Taylor’s appeal. Arlington residents got to vote on removing the red lights.


    The federal judge was wrong, they are human and make mistakes. The time to contest is after an election not before the election if the criteria for putting in motion a vote is met. Which the Kubosh brothers met, that is my opinion.

  8. Paul Kubosh says:

    Thank Manuel, I am aware of that. My whole point on the Andy Taylor reference was to have fun with Kuffner. Lord knows over the years he has had a lot of fun with me and my family and in his defense maybe we produce a lot of good material. We first got on Kuff’s radar back in 2005/2006 when Mike ran for SD 7.

    That is a long story meant for another thread.

  9. Paul – No worries about the Andy Taylor digs. I’m a big boy, I can handle it. Have you seen those commercials for the new “Vacation” movie? There’s a bit they show where the family thinks it’s taking a swim in a hot spring, only to find out it’s actually a cesspool. That’s about how I felt when I learned that Taylor was representing the city in red light camera litigation.

  10. Paul kubosh says:

    LOL…good analogy. I am going to watch that movie just out of respect for all the othe great movies in the past series.

    Can’t wait for this to be over so we can get back to arguing about good old democrat vs. Republican issues. We can all have steven educate us on city financials.

  11. joshua ben bullard says:

    I was the only member of the host committee for council member parker when she arrived at city hall jan 1998,i remember thinking to myself ,I think this lady maybe going places with in city government (this is years before parker had all the security detail,just a council member that kept running for office no matter what ,and finally won,officially I know her well,i don’t know her personally , but on a personal note ,it is very dishearting and sad to see how she is taking the mayors office down in flames by hiding behind the law when it is convient to do so .I would imagine she will look back years from now and think ,(I should have brought my office to a close in a better mannor) the old parker I knew from 1998 would never have openly critized the texas supreme court-on city letter head.=you just don’t do that as the highest ranking elected official of the largest city in the state .every time we turn around theres another situation from parker that is being re examined or reversed all together.i am beginning to think she will be un electable in the future .

    the mayor needs to stay in her lane.joshua

    for those that wish to read this in spell check form , by all means -spell check it yourself.

  12. Greg Wythe says:

    Still trying to wrap my head around the idea of a one-man “host committee.”

  13. Pingback: And now we have a lawsuit over HERO repeal ballot language – Off the Kuff

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