Annise Parker | Discrimination | Houston

Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance Likely To Be Opposed On November Ballot

Annise-ParkerFor LGBT people in Texas, there may be a major hurdle in the offing. Lone Star Q reports that opponents of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) are claiming they’ve gathered enough signatures to put a repeal on the ballot for Houston voters in May. These opponents say 30,000 of the signatures from city of Houston voters have already been validated — nearly twice the 17,269 signatures required to place the repeal on the ballot in November.

At a press conference yesterday at the City Hall Rotunda, supporters of HERO wore red, showing solidarity. Houston Mayor Annise Parker (pictured) spoke at the Rotunda, and she expressed confidence that voters would “soundly defeat” the initiative come November:

The Houston I know does not discriminate, treats everyone equally and allows full participation by everyone in civic and business life...We don’t care where you come from, the color of your skin, your age, gender, what physical limitations you may have or whom you choose to love.  I am confident voters will soundly defeat any challenge to the ordinance.

For now, the nondiscrimination ordinance stands, protecting Houston citizens from housing/commercial/employment discrimination 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.. Before its establishment in May, Houston was the only major American city to not have citywide protections in such matters for LGBT people.

[h/t Lone Star Q]

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Comments

  1. I do believe that the United States Supreme Court ruled in the CA. Prop 8 case that once you have been granted a right it can't be taken away.

    Posted by: Mark | Jul 5, 2014 11:01:40 AM


  2. @Mark,

    Actually, SCOTUS punted on the Prop 8 case by dismissing the appeal as "improperly granted", thus leaving the District Court's decision intact.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Jul 5, 2014 11:04:08 AM


  3. Will be following this with great interest. Just read a revealing article about Texas and its politics in a recent issue of Rollingstone Magazine.

    Posted by: Tom | Jul 5, 2014 1:32:58 PM


  4. because The Economy. right?

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 5, 2014 1:34:58 PM


  5. Now watch as LGB Houstonians lose anti-discrimination protections for which they have been fighting for 4 decades. And they will lose it because they are no longer allowed to fight for gay rights. Now, they are forced to include in every gay rights bill provisions regarding transsexual bathroom usage. And because he LGB movement is hijacked, it now puts a higher priority on the demands of heterosexual transsexuals than on the 4-decade old goals of LGBs. Watch what happens.

    Posted by: Franki | Jul 5, 2014 2:10:45 PM


  6. Franki - you've gotta try this new cocktail recipe i came up with, just for folks like you!

    get a shaker full of ice, add one ounce of your favourite vodka, 1.5 ounces of strychnine and 1 ounce of bleach. shake shake shake. garnish with a lemon twist. chug it in one gulp.

    you'll love it. have a few. have so many that you pass out.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 5, 2014 2:16:08 PM


  7. Dear Franki -- I'm proud to be one of the leaders of the HERO coalition here in Houston... since you're not here or part of the effort, may I kindly suggest that you STFU about things that you know nothing about?

    Thank you.

    For those that aren't from Houston, but want to help -- especially all of those folks from CA & NY that continually fund-raised for marriage equality -- please click through this link and donate to the cause!

    http://www.equalrightshouston.com/

    BTW -- we already have a hundred+ people lined up to begin an independent verification & challenge process this week as the City Secretary releases copies of the petitions.

    Posted by: Mike in Houston | Jul 5, 2014 2:46:13 PM


  8. Mike In Houston -

    Actually, I lived in Houston up until October 2013. So I do know what is going on. You should be ashamed of yourself. Gay civil rights and gay equality are worth fighting for. Protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation benefits everyone - gay, straight and bi. And that includes people who are trans, since all trans people have a sexual orientation.

    Gender identity could easily have been passed as part of a separate bill, but it was more important to you and your ideologues to hold gay civil rights hostage. You put ideology above people. And people are going to be hurt.

    BTW, if there were any doubt that LGBT is a cult sustained by fervor and threats, just look at Little Kiwi's comment. He regularly wishes death (by poisoning, gunshot, etc.) upon anyone who questions the religious faith of LGBT. Maybe LGBT should be re-named ISIS.

    Posted by: Franki | Jul 5, 2014 3:30:20 PM


  9. But then again I'm just a stupid trolling loser with no testicles who comes here every day to hate all the joys I'll never know.

    Posted by: FRANKI | Jul 5, 2014 3:33:47 PM


  10. Franki,

    If you were informed on what is going on here, you would know that most of the signatures were received based on fear mongering that "men could now use womens restrooms."

    This section was removed from the ordinance long ago, and I'm not sure why opponents like you keep bringing it up. How about you read it and educate yourself on what is going on instead of pointing fingers and blaming based on ignorance.

    Posted by: Evan | Jul 5, 2014 4:05:32 PM


  11. This feels like MiamiDade 2002 when its human rights ordinance faced voters for the second time. Fortunately the repeal effort was defeated and the opposition that vowed to put it to a vote again never materialized.

    Posted by: MIke | Jul 5, 2014 4:09:03 PM


  12. Franki -- I am in no way ashamed. You say that you lived in Houston until last year and you know what's going on... really? Which meetings did you attend? What organization did you represent?

    If you were part of the conversation, then you would know that this ordinance (despite what this blog and others have said) is not an LGBT ordinance -- Houston had no civil rights ordinance prior to this for ANYONE... and you would also know that had we not included the trans community in this, the target would simply have shifted to the LGB side -- and would have been full on same-sex marriage and other BS (as was seen in Arizona, San Antonio and everywhere else equal rights ordinances have been debated).

    I ignore Little Kiwi, because that kind of language has no place in any debate.

    Posted by: Mike in Houston | Jul 5, 2014 4:31:40 PM


  13. Evan - Gender identity and bathrooms is still in the bill. They took out a sentence that addressed it specifically, but it is still there in the general provision banning GI discrimination in public accommodations. In fact, by taking out the 1 sentence, they made it a bigger problem b/c that sentence at least required consistent gender presentation (i.e., you had to dress consistently as a woman in order to use the women's bathroom). With that sentence gone, anyone can use any bathroom based on entirely their claim to be a woman or man that day. The TV ads just write themselves.

    Mike in Houston - Do I have to be affiliated with an organization to have an opinion? Do the merits of an argument depend upon whether the speaker is with" a group? S

    Would the Christians still have tried to repeal the law even if it didn't have transsexual and crossdressing issues in it? Of course.

    But we would be in a much better position to defend it. Sexual orientation does not raise the complicated issues that GI and gender expression does (bathrooms, crossdressing in high-profile jobs). Passing SO protections is a lot easier than passing GI and GE protections. Which is PRECISELY why trans activists are so insistent upon sticking their demands into sexual orientation bills. They want to use us in order to benefit themselves, even if it means that everyone loses. Gay people and gay rights are not a tool to be exploited. But that is the approach you guys endorsed. Which is why I say "Shame on you."

    And please know that if this goes down by a single digit margin, it will be because of your suicidal dedication to the cult of LGBT that did it. See, e.g., Hutchinson, KS; Salina, KS, and Anchorage, AK. All disasters brought to you courtesy of the cult of LGBT.

    Posted by: Franki | Jul 5, 2014 5:45:10 PM


  14. Franki,

    Public accommodations includes restaurants, schools, and other places of business. It does not include restrooms. Instead of getting your information from social conservative websites, go Google "what does public accommodations" mean, and find out.

    In fact, there is another ordinance in place in Houston that bars restroom usage by those who are biologically of the wrong sex. That ordinance is not overridden by this ordinance in any way.

    It's sad how fear mongering and ignorance can sway people to vote in certain ways. Don't fall victim to it. Do your research if you are so concerned.

    Posted by: Evan | Jul 5, 2014 10:06:08 PM


  15. Evan, public bathrooms absolutely are public accommodations. As are bathrooms that are part of a larger public accommodation like a restaurant.

    That is why, for example, bathrooms all over the US were required to remodel after the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 passed. It is also why racially segregated bathrooms disappeared after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

    So -

    1. Bathrooms are covered by the ordinance.

    2. They removed ONLY a provision which would have required consistency in gender presentation, but still banned GI and GE discrimination in public accommodations, including bathrooms.

    3. Therefore, it is still an issue. Now I will admit that I didn't know that there is a separate ordinance specifically linking biological sex to bathroom usage. You don't give a cite or a link. But assuming that what you say is true, then it probably would become an issue for litigation. When 2 statutes conflict, there is a general rule that the later statute controls over the former. However, there is another rule which says that the more specific statue controls over the more general. The first rule would favor transgender usage; the latter rule would apply the biological sex rule.

    So we would need to see the specific language of the other ordinance to figure out which one might prevail. In any event, for a political campaign, there is more than enough confusion to keep it in as an campaign issue.

    More importantly, why are LGBs forced to deal with this NOW, in this specific bill? Why can't bathroom issues be dealt with on their own? Why isn't it enough for LGBs to pledge their help to transgenders rather than allow all of our goals to be subordinated and held hostage to this stuff? It doesn't benefit us at all and it hurts us massively. This goes on because of LGBT and because ideologues like Mike In Houston want to show how "progressive" they are by sabotaging gay civil rights.

    Posted by: Franki | Jul 6, 2014 12:05:38 AM


  16. Franki,

    I do not know the technicalities of the Civil Rights Act, but I am certain restrooms aren't included (unless specified) when it comes to "public accommodations". If you have a source specifically stating that public restrooms are always included when it comes to public accommodation, please feel free to share. Here is one of many supporting my argument: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/adaqa2.html

    The bathrooms are NOT covered in the ordinance. Mayor Parker has even specifically addressed this multiple times when asked. The site you can go to defending HERO also makes the same claim and links to the other ordinance I referenced earlier: http://www.houequality.com/will_this_ordinance_really_allow_men_into_the_womens_restroom

    You are trying to make a strong argument based on your single misinformed belief that men can use a womens restroom. This is false. Saying this ordinance will allow sexual predators to use the wrong restroom is a lie. And repeating the argument doesn't make it true. Opponents seem to not let it go though.

    Posted by: Evan | Jul 6, 2014 11:51:35 AM


  17. Franki.

    LGBT stands for equal rights for ALL. Not just some, but for ALL.

    It's that simple. We do not throw some people under the bus so that some others can get theirs. It is not about segregation, it is about inclusion.

    When you fight for equality for all, you don't preference it with an "except those people".

    Anyone who does is being prejudice against a group of people.

    And anyone who shows prejudice agains a group of people is no better than anyone else who shows prejudice against any group of people.

    Posted by: steve | Jul 6, 2014 12:10:35 PM


  18. Thankfully the voters will now decide if these preferential rights for a persons lifestyle will be continued. Isn't that how government is supposed to work? Why was A. Parker opposed to the voters making this desicision in the first place. Makes me think what I've heard about her pushing her own personal agenda is true.

    Posted by: Tom | Jul 6, 2014 3:20:13 PM


  19. Thankfully the voters will now decide if these preferential rights for a persons lifestyle will be continued. Isn't that how government is supposed to work? Why was A. Parker opposed to the voters making this desicision in the first place. Makes me think what I've heard about her pushing her own personal agenda is true.

    Posted by: Tom | Jul 6, 2014 3:20:14 PM


  20. Tom, it's fairly well accepted precedent that civil rights are not up for a vote. That's why your side is losing all these court cases on marriage bans.

    Posted by: Thedrdonna | Jul 6, 2014 3:40:45 PM


  21. thedrdonna:
    Tom got it right partially that voters in progressive states have granted equal rights to persons of different "lifestyles". The rest have been and will be decided by the courts like those backwaters Tom is in. He may even think those "liberal" voters should not have voting rights.

    Posted by: simon | Jul 6, 2014 7:30:39 PM


  22. thedrdonna:
    Tom got it right partially that voters in progressive states have granted equal rights to persons of different "lifestyles". The rest have been and will be decided by the courts like those backwaters Tom is in. He may even think those "liberal" voters should not have voting rights.

    Posted by: simon | Jul 6, 2014 7:30:47 PM


  23. TheDrDonna,

    What an @ss you are. You know nothing about this but you run your mouth anyway.

    "Civil rights" are voted upon all the time. They are statutory in nature and thus are enacted by legislative bodies, such as the Houston city council. Civil rights laws can be repealed by legislative act or by referendum.

    The marriage cases involve a claim of a Constitutional violation. That's a very different thing. The US Constitution overrides any contrary legislative act or local vote. In Houston, the issue is not a Constitutional right, but an anti-discrimination ordinance. So yes, there will be a vote and there's a decent chance that trans activism will once again cause injury to LGBs and all Houstonian workers.

    Posted by: Ciara | Jul 6, 2014 10:02:08 PM


  24. Ciara, the Constitution protects people's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, due to the Fifth Amendment. Before the civil rights era these same rights were denied to many people on the basis of race. I fully expect that in the future LGBT will enjoy those same protections under law, either via judicial ruling or legislative action, but in any event people like you will be viewed the same way we now view segregationists.

    Posted by: Thedrdonna | Jul 6, 2014 10:11:32 PM


  25. TheDrDonna,

    Actually, you silly tw@t, the Constitution protects persons from being deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law. Pursuit of happiness is in the Declaration of Independence. You are a transgender version of one of those Tea Partiers who spout off about the constitution but have never read it.

    And BTW, I in no way support segregation, and I would vote for a trans bill, but I don't like that it is stuck into the LGB bill as a way to force us to work for your issue. It is manipulation and exploitation of lesbians, gays and bisexuals IMHO.

    Posted by: Ciara | Jul 7, 2014 3:56:39 AM


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