Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Houston Voters Reject Anti-Discrimination Law In Focus On Transgender Rights

Texas Tribune reports that in Houston, Texas yesterday voters rejected the city's Equal Rights Ordinance by a vote of 61% to 39%.  The Ordinance (full text) barred discrimination 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.  In a campaign centered in churches to obtain a referendum on the measure (see prior posting), opponents of the measure focused on its sexual orientation and gender identity provisions.  Republican leaders in the state, including the governor and lieutenant governor, supported repeal of the Ordinance.  Yesterday Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, reflecting the predominate theme of the anti-Ordinance campaign, said:
The voters clearly understand that this proposition was never about equality – that is already the law. It was about allowing men to enter women’s restrooms and locker rooms — defying common sense and common decency.
 After the vote, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, said:
Unfortunately, I fear that this will have stained Houston’s reputation as a tolerant, welcoming, global city.  And I absolutely fear that there will be a direct economic backlash as a result of this.