Houston City Council Passes Equal Rights Ordinance Protecting all Houstonians from Discrimination

by Ianthe Metzger

WASHINGTON – Today the Houston City Council passed the Equal Rights ordinance by a vote of 11-6. The ordinance, which was introduced by Mayor Annise Parker last month and amended by Councilmember Davis to extend critical protections to transgender people that ensure they will be afforded the respectful, safe access to places of public accommodation to which they and all people are entitled, will protect all Houstonians from discrimination in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations. Workers in both the public and private sectors will be protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as on the basis of sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, genetic information, and pregnancy.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) National Field Director Marty Rouse issued the following statement:

“We thank the members of the Houston City Council for bringing fairness and equality to the nation’s fourth largest city.  Under Mayor Parker’s leadership, this commonsense legislation will make life a little easier and fairer for thousands of Houstonians.  It is far past time to protect the citizens of Houston from all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“As the largest city in Texas, Houston is an epicenter for business and culture.  Cities thrive when all citizens feel welcome and part of the cultural fabric.  Today, members of the city council joined Mayor Parker in telling every Houstonian that they are a valued part of the city’s future. We thank Mayor Parker and Councilmembers Cohen, Laster, Gonzalez and Davis for their leadership and commitment on this ordinance.” 

Mayor Annise Parker said, “The Human Rights Campaign was a strong political ally as we worked to pass the Non-Discrimination Ordinance. With their help we were able to craft an ordinance that passed not only with the majority support of City Council but also the backing of the Houston business community and many others."

HRC is proud to have played a role in the successful passage of the Equal Rights Ordinance.  HRC mobilized its members and supporters in Houston to contact their leaders and express their support of the ordinance.  Opponents of equality are expected to attempt to put this ordinance on the ballot. HRC will continue to work alongside Mayor Parker and other city leaders as well as Equality Texas, ACLU-Texas, Houston GLBT Political Caucus, Log Cabin Republicans, Out & Equal, Texas Freedom Network and Texans Together to protect this ordinance and ensure it is implemented as soon as possible. 



The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


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