Two days before his campaign rally with President Donald Trump at the Toyota Center, Senator Ted Cruz spoke at a breakfast hosted by an anti-LGBTQ hate group.
Cruz was the keynote speaker Saturday, Oct. 20 at a Greater Houston Pastor Breakfast hosted by the Houston Area Pastor Council, which is also known as the Texas Pastor Council and the U.S. Pastor Council.
The Pastor Council, which led the effort to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in 2015, filed a lawsuit earlier this month challenging LGBTQ protections in Austin. The Pastor Council also recently led a campaign to end the Houston Public Library’s Drag Queen Storytime program, and attacked Mayor Sylvester Turner and police Chief Art Acevedo for appearing in the city’s LGBTQ Pride parade.
In his speech at the breakfast, Cruz referenced the HERO fight.
“Religious freedom and persecution is real, and in the United States, we’ve seen government with an animosity to religious faith,” Cruz said. “Sadly, we’ve seen here in the city of Houston a city government that believed it could subpoena the sermons of pastors.”
The city sought to subpoena the sermons in response to a lawsuit filed by the pastors challenging the rejection of their petition to repeal HERO. A judge later found that the pastors’ petition contained rampant forgery, but the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court overturned the decision, and ordered the city to put the ordinance on the ballot.
Cruz also praised the confirmations of Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, calling them “one of the most tremendous victories nationally” of the last two years.
“Both judges have long records defending religious liberty, and in fact much of the passionate opposition to them was precisely because they have long records defending religious liberty,” Cruz said.
Cruz is facing a challenge from Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke, a staunch LGBTQ ally, in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
Cruz was introduced at the breakfast by Pastor Ed Young, who once called HERO “deceptive and deadly” and said it would lead to Houston becoming “totally secular and Godless.” Other speakers at the breakfast included anti-LGBTQ pastors Steve Riggle, Rudy White and Herman Castano. Watch their remarks below.