A poll released last week shows a majority of Houstonians support the city’s Equal Rights Ordinance, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and 13 other characteristics. The ordinance, known as HERO, will appear on the ballot Nov. 3.
The poll commissioned by the Houston Association of Realtors found that 52 percent support HERO, while 37 percent oppose it, and 10 percent are undecided. According to the group’s summary of the poll, “Passions are high on the issue: 44 percent are very certain to vote “For” and 30 percent very certain to vote against.” The Houston Association of Realtors has come out in favor of the ordinance.
The poll, taken Sept. 21-24, also found that former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and state Rep. Sylvester Turner lead the race to replace out lesbian Mayor Annise Parker, who is term-limited. Both Garcia and Turner support HERO. The Houston Association of Realtors, which commissioned the poll conducted by American Strategies, has come out in favor of the ordinance.
Also last week, out lesbian Mayor Annise Parker took to Twitter to blast former Houston Astros star Lance Berkman for speaking out against the ordinance. Meanwhile, leaders from both the business and African-American communities spoke out in favor of HERO. And campaign finance reports showed HERO supporters had raised $1.26 million, more than twice as much as opponents.
But opponents aren’t giving up. They’ve launched a new website, featuring on the main page video of a sermon by Ed Young, pastor of Second Baptist Church:
“It opens up our city and in short order all of the metropolitan area of Houston to something that I think is absolutely godless,” Young proclaims of HERO, adding that his wife recently saw a man walk out of a women’s restroom downtown. “It is totally deceptive, and it is deadly.”
HERO opponents also staged a rally last week, where anti-gay pastors said the ordinance would lead to “reverse discrimination for people who believe in God,” according to KTRK:
“I believe HERO is the most dangerous thing that’s ever been orchestrated in the city of Houston,” said Dr. Floyd Williams Sr., with Antioch Church.