Post submitted by HRC Houston Steering Committee members Lou Weaver, Diversity and Inclusion Co-Chair and Melissa Vivanco, Political Co-Chair

Houston Mayor Annise Parker is expected to introduce a non-discrimination ordinance for consideration by the Houston City Council early next week.

It's hard to fathom but our nation's fourth most populous city does not have any civil rights ordinance.   Mayor Parker's ordinance would protect Houstonians from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on real or perceived race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, gender identity, gender expression, religion, sexual orientation, disability, marital or family status, and veteran's status.

The only real question is whether or not the ordinance would cover public employers only or also private ones. Advocacy groups representing diverse populations sent letters to the Mayor and City Council expressing their support for a broad ordinance to cover all Houstonians. In addition to the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU of Texas, The Anti-Defamation League, Equality Texas, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, Log Cabin Republicans of Texas, Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church, Texas Freedom Network, Texans Together, and others are united in their support for an ordinance that would cover both public and private sector employers.

Yesterday, we were proud to represent the Human Rights Campaign as we joined with representatives from Texans Together in presenting the Mayor's staff with the names of over 3,500 Houstonians who expressed their support for a broad Equal Rights Ordinance.

Houston currently scores a 63 on HRC's Municipal Equality Index (MEI). Texans, together, will hopefully bring Houston in line with most of our country's other large cities, including the Texas cities of Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Austin, each of which has a non-discrimination ordinance that covers both public and private employers.

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