Anti-equality activists are suing the city of Houston, after their petition to stall an equality law failed.

Activists last month submitted boxes of around 31,000 signatures to block a planned LGBT equality law – above the threshold of 17,269 required to send it to a public vote.

However, the tactics of campaigners gathering signatures have been strongly criticized, with church groups claiming it would allow ‘men dressed as women’ to attack people in bathrooms.

In addition, the TransAdvocate has accused them of collecting “fraudulent” signatures from people who are not registered to vote in Houston.

The city revealed on Monday that as so many of the signatures had been declared invalid – with many collected before the law was even published – the petition had failed to block the law.

Opponents have now filed a lawsuit, with plaintiff Jared Woodfill arguing that City Attorney David Feldman “illegally inserted” himself into the process by pointing out the vast number of invalid signatures.

Woodfill claimed: “It’s illegal and we believe the court will agree with us and that folks will have their voices heard in November on this issue.”

Feldman replied: “There’s nothing that would preclude me from giving legal advice to the city secretary.

“In fact, that’s what our ordinances would expect me to do: Give advice to her on an issue which is really a legal issue.

“The question of whether or not those pages are valid because of the issue of meeting or not meeting the requirements of the charter is a legal issue.”