UPDATE: The Houston City Council today delayed a final vote on the proposed Equal Rights Ordinance for two weeks. We’ll keep you updated on news about the ordinance and how you can take action in support.
The most common and disgusting attack on Houston’s proposed Equal Rights Ordinance is the absurd claim that it will allow sexual predators into public restrooms. Now the Houston Area Pastor Council is also distorting the facts about Tuesday’s events surrounding the debate over the proposed ordinance.
Today the group sent out a press release that inaccurately claims “1,500 pastors, citizens and elected officials” rallied at City Hall against the proposed ordinance. That’s more than a little exaggeration. The crowd looked less than a third that size to us. In fact, the Houston Chronicle pegged it at around 300.
The same press release also suggested that Houston pastors were “united” in opposition. Not true. In fact, about 70 religious leaders from across Houston have signed on to an open letter sent to City Council on Tuesday supporting the ordinance. The letter states in part:
We come from many religious traditions and hold different texts and observances as sacred, yet we share a commitment to the dignity of every human being, which requires treating each member of our community fairly, equally and with respect. The Equal Rights Ordinance seeks to extend these values to all the citizens of the city without imposing one set of religious beliefs over those of others.
Religious-right organizers of Tuesday’s opposition event at Houston City Hall also insisted that they don’t support discrimination — but they kept attacking LGBT people as immoral and a threat to families. And the signs protesters carried clearly demonstrated that the voices of hate were out in force. So were the voices of the confused. Do they even know what a “metrosexual” is?
The City Council is considering the proposed ordinance today. It would protect individuals from discrimination based on sex, race, color ethnicity, national original, age, familiar status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or pregnancy. The measure prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.