Fox News contributor and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) was among several speakers at a rally on Sunday demanding that Houston city officials ignore their own election laws.
Media Matters reported that the event, called "I Stand Sunday," called for a vote on repealing the measure, known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
However, a petition calling for a vote on HERO was rejected, after city officials determined that thousands of the petitions included were invalid. City Attorney David Feldman and City Secretary Secretary Anna Russell stated that several pages of signatures were improperly notarized.
Several signatures were also disqualified for being collected before the petition became active, and others for belonging to non-local voters or people who were not registered to vote.
But instead of focusing on the petition's failure, Huckabee and other speakers at the event criticized the city for subpoenaing local pastors' sermons to determine how they had told their parishoners to fill out the petition. The subpoena requests were later rescinded.
"They find it unimaginable that in the U.S., this type of brutish act would take place," Huckabee said. "They expect in North Korea, they expect in Russia, in Iran. They do not expect it in Houston, Texas."
The measure, which was passed by the city council this past May, bans discrimination against not only LGBT residents, but against any resident based on "sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy." But opponents have criticized a provision allowing trans men and women to use restrooms according to the gender with which they identify.
Watch a report on the rally, as aired on KHOU-TV, below.