Houston City Council Passes Sweeping LGBT-Inclusive Nondiscrimination Ordinance in 11-6 Vote

After hearing more than 200 speakers testify for more than eight hours today, the Houston City Council, presided over by gay Mayor Annise Parker, passed a sweeping LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance that protects Houston citizens on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, and family, marital or military status.

According to the Houston Chronicle, "the ordinance would apply to businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting. Religious institutions would be exempt. Violators could be fined up to $5,000."



  1. jed says

    i haven’t read the ordinance but hopefully the legal definition of what is considered a “religious institution” doesn’t provide a loophole.

  2. AggieCowboy says

    “gay Mayor Annise Parker”? Really? As opposed to “straight Mayor Annise Parker”? Or “female Mayor Annise Parker”? Or “white Mayor Annise Parker”? How about just “Mayor Annise Parker”? She is not a “gay Mayor”. She is the Mayor of Houston who happens to be an out and married lesbian. The adjective is not necessary and plays right into the hands of the homophobic bigots who want us to be seen as “different”. We need to stop labeling ourselves as different and present ourselves as equals regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

  3. abel says

    Amen, @AggieCowboy!

    Of course, the bigots who lost are already collecting signatures to get a referendum on the ballot. But the victory feels good!

  4. Sergio says

    By not having you around, Pancho Lopez, us Houstonians have already won. Mindlessly reflexive anti-Texas sentiment hurts us gays who are fighting for our state.

  5. Jeip says

    @AggieCowboy, I disagree that it’s not relevant. When she was first elected, Houston became the largest city in the United States to elect an openly gay or lesbian person.

    Further, to this story and ordinance specifically, which establishes broad protections for entire classes of people, including the LGBT community, it’s a topical fact to point out. This is especially true given that the majority of the opposition to this ordinance has been based in anti-gay animus.

    If this was a story about a road building measure, or efforts by the city of Houston and Mayor Parker’s office to do almost anything else, it wouldn’t be so relevant.

    Today, though, sitting as an openly LGBT mayor of a major metro area in the US, seeing the passage of an ordinance that grants equal protections to all of the citizens of Houston to live and work and exist as equal citizens with the right to not be discriminated against for who they are, it matters. It matters not just for her, but for others who can look to her and to her success and be inspired at what she and the city of Houston have accomplished during her terms as mayor.

    The people who hold animus against the LGBT community for being LGBT aren’t going to soften their approach if we pretend that it doesn’t matter, because sometimes it does.

  6. Greg says

    I agree with aggiecowboy. It was the first thought in my head. Why on earth does an article on a gay blog with “homosexual tendencies” need to qualify a popular, competent, female mayor of a major city with the “gay” word? It seems disrespectful, counter-productive to our cause, impertinent,redundant and a few other negative things. It is wonderfully positive news and out of Texas of all places.

  7. RBearSAT says

    Great points Sergio. Let’s see, Houston is the largest city in the nation with an openly LGBT elected mayor today. Dallas County has an openly LGBT elected sheriff. San Antonio’s mayor was one of three to write an op-ed in USA Today supporting same-sex marriage. Granted, the state has its challenges and yesterday elected the most conservative slate of Republican candidates for statewide office in history, but progress is made.

    BTW, with regards to the referendum to overturn, they tried that in SAT after we passed our NDO and the efforts to get enough signatures failed miserably.

  8. Joseph says

    I’m with JEIP. Here’s to gay Mayor Parker and her slow and steady success in the gay rights arena in a city where religious conservatives still hold some major sway. That’s something to point out and be proud of.

  9. dh says

    Thank you JEIP. Parker’s sexual orientation IS important to a story involving a gay rights protection. Particularly when she originally was going to sign a version that DIDN’T include sexual orientation.

    It’s nice to see that Parker didn’t sell out her own community after all, and it’s a good reminder to all of us to keep the feet of our elected officials to the fire.

    Assimilationists like Aggiecowboy and Greg are often too eager to downplay our issues and our rights in a misguided attempt to appear “normal.”

  10. RBearSAT says

    DH really? Where did you get your information that Parker was going to “sell out” and exclude sexual orientation from the ordinance? I followed this through the postings of Daniel Williams of Equality Texas and tracked the changes with the ordinance. Not once did I ever hear of or see any indication of “selling out” by Parker. In fact, it was her courage to bring this to the table for the purpose of including sexual orientation and gender identity.

    It’s really a shame when people like you spread false rumors about these type of actions, apparently to act like you changed the game. Kind of like those folks who start a fire, then put it out to make themselves look like heroes.

    I remember GetEQUAL TX folks issuing a “travel advisory” for San Antonio when we were in the final days of passage of our ordinance. The action was solely to draw attention to the organization as they claimed victory for convincing city council to pass the ordinance for fear of the advisory. There never was a need for the advisory and it did very little to impact the decision.

  11. R. Evans says

    Jesus indicated that the open acceptance of homosexuality among other traits known in Sodom would be a clear sign of his soon return. Well, we have clearly arrived. Maranatha! Even so come Lord Jesus!

  12. dh says

    My apologies, RBEARSAT, I thought I remembered reading it here on this blog, but going through the archives, I see nothing but good things about Ms. Parker’s advocacy for us.

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