Friday, May 30, 2014

Houston Passes Controversial Equal Rights Ordinance

As reported by CultureMap Houston, on Wednesday the Houston, Texas City Council by a vote of 11-6 passed the controversial Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (full text). The new law protects against discrimination in public accommodations, employment and housing on the basis of sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or pregnancy. A provision that would have protected transgender persons in bathroom choice was removed after particularly strong objections from conservative and religious leaders.  Religious organizations are exempted from various provisions of the Ordinance. According to MSNBC, before passage of this ordinance, Houston was the largest U.S. city without local anti-discrimination laws.  Opponents of the measure are attempting to collect the needed 17,000 signatures to put repeal of the Ordinance on the ballot in November's election.