Discrimination Supporters Will Continue Legal Fight Against Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

Religious-right opponents of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) announced today that they will continue their legal fight for the right to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

A state court on April 17 ruled that HERO opponents had failed to gather enough valid signatures on a petition to put repeal of ordinance up for a public vote. At a press conference and in a press release this afternoon, the far-right Houston Area Pastor Council and its supporters announced plans to appeal that court ruling. The hateful press release repeats the usual fear-mongering about transgender people using public restrooms and claims that Mayor Annise Parker is guilty of “tyranny and lawlessness.”

Well, they should know something about lawlessness. The court found that many of the signatures on their anti-HERO petition were forgeries or illegible, among other serious irregularities. The ruling that HERO opponents failed to follow the law came after lengthy and very detailed analysis of the petition signatures by a jury and the presiding judge.

The City Council voted to pass HERO in May 2014. City officials finally implemented HERO’s provisions after the April 17 court ruling. HERO bars discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as well as race, religion, gender, military status and other categories. The anti-discrimination protections cover employment, housing and public accommodations.

Geoffrey Harrison, the lead attorney for the city in the court case, offered a great quote about HERO opponents and their motivations:

“Having lost the election, lost the jury verdict and lost the judge’s ruling, plaintiffs misguided appeal sounds like a continuation of their three-ring circus of discrimination, intolerance and hate.”

The Texas Freedom Network joined with the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Equality Texas and the Human Rights Campaign in sending out the following press release this afternoon:

Major civil rights organizations are disappointed by the decision of some pastors and community leaders to continue their legal pursuit of the repeal of Houston’s equal rights ordinance.   The coalition dedicated to the protection of LGBT equality and rights includes the ACLU of Texas, Equality Texas, the Human Rights Campaign and Texas Freedom Network.

Begun last July with illegally prepared and submitted repeal petitions, the group calling itself No Unequal Rights Coalition has put the city through an already unnecessary and costly legal fight. With the announcement of yet another appeal, they are continuing to force taxpayer dollars to be used in a foolhardy quest to allow discrimination against their neighbors.

Marty Rouse, Human Rights Campaign National Field Director of the Human Rights Campaign:
“This decision will put Houston in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons, and it could fundamentally risk its stature as one of the nation’s leading business and major event centers.”

Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas:
“Cities across the country have these laws without raising any problems. Houston should be a leader in ensuring our Constitution’s promise of religious liberty and equality live side by side. There is no tension between the two; one never usurps the other.”

Kathy Miller, president of  the Texas Freedom Network:
“Houston, the most culturally diverse city in the United States, should be at the forefront of providing anti-discrimination protections to all people. It is disheartening that this small fringe group is continuing to hold the city hostage with their bathroom bogeyman for what is fundamentally an argument born out of fear and hate.”

4 thoughts on “Discrimination Supporters Will Continue Legal Fight Against Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

  1. As Jesus used to say, “Hate everyone that isn’t you and if you can get away with it, murder as many of those people as you can.”

    They harp on things that don’t border on idioticy, they have going way beyond the border.

    They try to scare people with “men in a ladies room.” I am 74 year young and have never seen a man in any bathroom I’ve used. I’d say that 74 years of experience trumps the false fear mongering.

    A woman I happen to know has very masculine features and a fairly deep voice. She had the stall she was using opened and a male officer told her to leave the ladies room NOW.

    The only good thing that happened was the money she got for being harassed and for having a MALE cop see her. I’m glad that I testified at the brutality of that cop. She and I were shopping together and had gone to the ladies room together.

    Trying to legislate hatred is unconstitutional. The hate peddlers need to read the Constitution, but they won’t.

  2. Obviously these people have never traveled to France!

    Well, it’s obvious that most Texas legislators are very provincial in their views. Otherwise they would know that customs vary quite a lot around the world.

    Sorry, I realize visualizing a world outside of Texas is a stretch for “these people.”

    Perhaps if we learned to simply smile and say “Bonjour” life would be a lot easier.

  3. I just had to wonder how anyone would know if one of the parties that are on the no, no list.
    Years ago one of my co-workers happened to be a trans woman. She looked like any other woman I’ve ever met. She dressed appropriately for her gender. None of the other girls never complained about her with the exception of one very miserable jerk who said that she knew about her and did everything to make Brenda’s live miserable.
    Finally, the owner gave her–not Brenda–a chance to shut up about Brenda or quit.
    She opted to do neither.
    Believe it or not, all of us girls decided to dress in jeans and tee shirts and wore no makeup and tried our best to imitate a man’s voice.
    When the blabber mouth outted Brenda to others who worked on the floor, she was fired with prejudice.
    That was about three decades ago. Since we all knew her as Brenda and most of the other women on our floor had been told that she was one of “those people.”
    She went to the EEOC and we all went to the meeting where the EEOC made it clear that the civil rights laws of 1964 prevented her from being fired on the basis that discrimination for just about anything you can mention and since she had been fired with prejudice her case was invalid.
    Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, she swore up a storm to the point that miss priss spent four days in jail for her tirade.
    That is what puzzles me about the miserable people who want to overturn HERO. If you can’t tell that a person who is dressed appropriately and speaks in a feminine voice, HOW CAN ANYONE TELL WHAT A PERSON HAPPENS TO BE.
    Those miserable excuses for human beings have to learn that this is a new age. Those things would be delighted to call themselves Christians and simultaneously would love to kill people who aren’t them.
    The Nazis used the oil that came from the corpses of the victims of the crematoria to make the flames hotter and hotter. There are, unfortunately, people around who would love to bring yet another Holocaust on the LGBT people and, oh yes, Jews, Gypsies, Priests…that is what the Nazis did in WWII.
    Apparently, 70 years is too long for people to remember what happened in the ’30s and ’40s.
    I REMEMBER those years. C’mon, Houston, let’s undo HERO, then burn the others.

  4. I do not understand what is to appeal but on the other hand many people didn’t vote about proposition 8 and the courts overturned the democratic process. We live in a soft tyranny right now.
    What I fail to understand is why HERO is being appealed. It is over get on with life. Live and let live.