- August 5, 2015
Post submitted by Ryan Wilson, HRC Senior Regional Field Organizer
The Houston City Council voted to send the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a law that protects citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, and eleven other categories, to a referendum on the November 3 ballot.
The vote comes as a result of the Texas Supreme Court's ruling requiring the council to either overturn the ordinance or send it to the ballot. Though opponents of LGBT equality -- led by the Texas Pastors Council -- apparently failed to collect the required
number of signatures to put HERO up for referendum, the court ruled in their favor. Not one person spoke to the council in favor of repealing HERO.
I flew out to Houston yesterday to represent HRC on the ground and to continue our work with coalition partners supporting HERO. I was in the city council chambers as about 80 Houston residents testified in support of HERO and asked council not to repeal it.
Earlier today, HRC proudly stood beside American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Equality Texas, Texas Freedom Network and Freedom for All Americans in defense of HERO.
“The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance reflects the core Houstonian values – that no one should face discrimination because of their age or race, their status as a military veteran, or their sexual orientation or gender identity,” the organizations said in a joint statement. “The City Council voted on this ordinance last year, and it enjoyed enormous support from elected officials, businesses big and small, civil rights groups, and a diversity of faith leaders. Over the coming months, we intend to send a clear message that voters in Houston will reject any and all attempts to strip these needed protections away from their friends and family members.”
Houstonians clearly want protections for all people to stay the law of the city and a diverse group of local leaders are committed to fighting to protect HERO this November.
Because turnout in these elections is historically extremely low and opponents of equality will be highly mobilized, every vote will count.
HRC will commit staff, like myself, and financial resources to defend the ordinance, and the HRC Houston Steering Committee will help recruit volunteers and field support for the campaign.
|Pol. Adv. Human Rights Campaign|