One year ago today, Houston’s City Council adopted a sweeping civil rights ordinance that bar discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, sex, military status and other characteristics. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which religious-right groups bitterly oppose, covers discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. The Texas Freedom Network proudly supported the passage of HERO. We just sent out the following press release to mark the one-year anniversary:
To mark today’s first anniversary of the Houston City Council’s passage of a comprehensive Equal Rights Ordinance, TFN President Kathy Miller issued the following statement:
“The passage of the Houston ordinance was a landmark moment in an ongoing campaign to ensure equality for all Texans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. No one should be fired from a job, evicted from their home or denied public services simply because of who they are or whom they love. All Texans should be equal under law.
This year Texas legislators filed more than 20 bills promoting discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We look forward to the day when the Legislature instead follows the example of cities like Houston and protects all Texans from discrimination.”
Houston was the last major city in Texas to pass a comprehensive civil rights ordinance that includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as well as other characteristics such as race, religion, sex and military status.
Opponents organized a petition drive to put repeal of HERO on a citywide ballot. But the city and a state district court judge determined that opponents had failed to obtain the required number of petition signatures. Jurors in the court case found that the petition included many forged and illegible signatures. Opponents are appealing the decision.
Texas law does not include discrimination protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.