The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), as the short video above shows, isn’t hard to understand.
But the rhetoric from religious-righters is increasingly vitriolic and deceitful in the reckless campaign to repeal HERO. Religious-right activists are even claiming that Mayor Annise Parker, who supports the ordinance, is calling people who have organized to oppose the ordinance “criminals.”
— Liberty Institute (@advanceliberty) February 2, 2015
“When the City Mayor calls its own citizens “criminals”, there may be something wrong.”
Liberty Institute, a religious-right litigation group based in the North Texas city of Plano, isn’t telling the truth. Mayor Parker hasn’t called opponents “criminals,” although city attorneys have said evidence strongly suggests that many signatures on the petition to repeal HERO are invalid under existing law and that some might even be fraudulent.
So let’s talk about the truth. HERO bars discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, religion, gender, military status and other categories. The anti-discrimination protections cover employment, housing and public accommodations.
Religious-righters are mostly upset that the ordinance protects LGBT people from discrimination (although they also want the right also to discriminate against anyone else, such as Jews, for religious reasons). In fact, before HERO’s passage last year, it was legal in Houston to fire or evict someone who is gay or transgender.
Protecting people from discrimination, including people who are gay or transgender, is about treating others as we want to be treated. All people should be treated fairly and equally by our laws. Nobody should have to live in fear of being fired for reasons that have nothing to do with job performance or evicted from their homes because of who they are and whom they love.
That’s the truth about HERO. Remember that as opponents try to frighten, divide and mislead voters about this common-sense ordinance.