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Court Battle Over Houston's LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance Pushed Back to January

The court battle over Houston's LGBT non-discrimination ordinance has been pushed back to January 2015, meaning that voters will not be able to vote on the measure this November.

ParkerEarlier this month we reported that anti-gay activists had failed in efforts to collect enough signatures for a ballot measure that would place the city's recently-passed Equal Rights Ordinance up for a public referendum.

Petition backers then proceeded to sue the city.

Houston's News 92 FM reports:

[Judge Robert] Schaffer also moved the ordinance should not be enforced until after that trial, with supporters and opponents in unanimous agreement.

Opponents of the ordinance gathered signatures believing they had enough to get the issue on the ballot.

They came up almost 2,000 names short, according to Houston Mayor Annise Parker and city’s attorney.

On Friday, opponents of the ordinance dropped their request for a temporary injuction that could have triggered a repeal referendum in November. 


Anti-Gay Activists Sue Houston Over Rejection of Petition Signatures to Repeal City's Equal Rights Ordinance

On Monday we reported that anti-gay activists had failed in efforts to collect enough signatures for a ballot measure that would place Houston's recently-passed Equal Rights Ordinance up for a public referendum.

WoodfillNow the petitions backers are suing the city, the Houston Chronicle reports:

Plaintiff and conservative activist Jared Woodfill said his group is asking a state district judge to declare that City Secretary Anna Russell followed her legal duty and verified a sufficient number of signatures to force a referendum before City Attorney David Feldman illegally inserted himself into the process.

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"If he felt there were underlying problems with the petition then he, like us, has the right to file a lawsuit if he doesn't agree with what the city secretary did," Woodfill said. "Going in before she's ever made the decision and influencing her is inappropriate, 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 declined to comment until he had seen a copy of the lawsuit, but earlier Tuesday disputed the idea that his involvement crossed any ethical or legal lines.

Petitioners were expected to fight the rejection of their signatures. Mayor Annise Parker had no comment about the lawsuit.


Petition to Repeal Houston's LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance Fails

A petition to repeal Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations has failed to gather the necessary signatures to appear on November's ballot.

The ordinance was signed into law back in May by Mayor Annise Parker.

ParkerLone Star Q reports:

The petition needed at least 17,269 valid signatures from registered Houston voters to put a repeal of the ordinance before voters in November.

Opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) claimed to have at least 30,000 valid signatures when they submitted the petition last month. However, a group supporting the ordinance that independently reviewed the signatures determined that it had a maximum of 16,500 valid signatures.

Opponents of the ordinance have vowed to take the city to court if officials determined their petition didn’t have enough valid signatures.


Houston Activists Publish Names Of Anti-Gay Petition Signers

No Unequal Rights petition

After mayor Annise Parker signed Houston's HERO bill into law, it was just a matter of moments before anti-gay bigots started raising a stink and even got a petition started to reverse the measure. Some Houston activists decided to post the signatures that were applied to the petition online in an easy-to-browse database. Given that petition signatures are part of the public record, the activists are engaging in completely legal activity despite the fact that haters are not going to be pleased with the disclosure.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Houston GLBT Political Caucus treasurer Noel Freeman - who was the one who made the request for the public records - had this to say about the actions being public shaming:

If somebody feels that they’re being publicly shamed by these petitions being online, I think that says more about them than it does about the people who are putting the petitions online. If you’re embarrassed that your political views are on public display, then maybe you should rethink your political views.


Gay Texas Foster Children Caretaker Fired For PDA With His Fiance: VIDEO

Casey stegall

A caretaker for foster children in Lubbock, Texas, was fired recently after he introduced some teenage clients to his fiance during an outing at a water park on the Fourth of July, reports Lone Star Q.

Officials at the Children’s Home of Lubbock, which is affiliated with a Christian church, accused Casey Stegall of engaging in a public display of affection with another man.  

Speaking to The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Children’s Home president Lynn Harms said:

“When you are implementing life training and so forth — particularly with children — to put a confused message out there is counterproductive. If you want to try to force our culture to meet your expectations, that’s not going to go well. I don’t feel like the culture here has to meet an individual’s desire for the world to be different.”

Harms also said that gay employees who “fly under the radar” are accepted but that other gay employees have been fired because of “how they conduct their business.”

Devastated by his termination, Stegall has since contacted attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

Although cities around the U.S., including Houston, have introduced municipal ordinances banning anti-LGBT employment discrimination, Lubbock has not done so.

Last week, President Barack Obama signed an executive order banning anti-LGBT discrimination among federal contractors. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would ban anti-LGBT discrimination by private employers, remains stalled in the U.S. House. However, last week the Washington Blade reported that Democratic House Representative Jared Polis is preparing to initiate a discharge petition for (ENDA).

Watch a video of Stegall discussing the termination of his contract, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Texas Foster Children Caretaker Fired For PDA With His Fiance: VIDEO" »


Wiki Loves Pride Edit-A-Thons Improve LGBT Content On Wikipedia

Wikimedia lgbt

Last month, Wikipedia launched a series of Wiki Loves Pride edit-a-thons to improve LGBT-related content on various Wikimedia projects.

The edit-a-thons aim to increase “the number of people and perspectives contributing to LGBT information on the site, as well as encouraging institutions to add their authority information, research and images to the public domain.”

Edit-a-thons have already taken place in Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon.  Future edit-a-thons are planned for Atlanta and Houston and for Bangalore and Delhi, India.


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