Houston Equal Rights Ordinance to be Voted on November BallotBy Cameron Tolle • August 5, 2015 • 3:45 pm
Today, the Houston City Council reiterated its support of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) by rejecting an attempt to repeal the law and instead voting to send it to the ballot on November 3rd.
(HERO) is an ordinance passed overwhelmingly by the City Council in 2014 that protects people in Houston from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, military service, sex, race, ethnicity, age, marital status, disability, and other categories.
The City Council’s vote today comes after the Texas Supreme Court issued a blow to the ordinance on July 24th, ruling that the Council must either repeal HERO in its entirety or put it on the ballot for a vote in November 2014.
We joined with our coalition partners— American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Equality Texas, Texas Freedom Network, and the Human Rights Campaign—in a joint release thanking members of the City Council for, once again, standing up for the core Houston values of freedom and fairness for all:
“The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance reflects the core Houstonian values – that no one should face discrimination because of their age or race, their status as a military veteran, or their sexual orientation or gender identity. The City Council voted on this ordinance last year, and it enjoyed enormous support from elected officials, businesses big and small, civil rights groups, and a diversity of faith leaders. Over the coming months, we intend to send a clear message that voters in Houston will reject any and all attempts to strip these needed protections away from their friends and family members.”
Civil rights, faith and business leaders in Houston agreed, expressing optimism that fellow Houstonians would vote in favor of upholding protections for their LGBT neighbors and friends.
Pastor Rudy Rasmus, Co-Pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church, said:
“As a Christian, my faith teaches me to love my neighbor as myself. When I search my heart, I believe we are all called to treat others with dignity and respect. Protecting others from discrimination is a way for me to live my faith and lead my congregation to be open and welcoming to all. I believe it’s what Jesus calls me to do.”
Lou Weaver, a prominent transgender advocate in Houston said HERO is about nothing more than treating hardworking Houstonians fairly under the law:
“I know Houstonians believe that all people should be treated fairly and equally. That’s why it’s so surprising and shocking to realize that in this day and age, it is actually still legal under our state’s laws to fire a hard-working employee, evict someone from her apartment or deny customers service in a restaurant simply because they’re gay or transgender. Like other Houstonians, we just want the chance to earn a living and be treated fairly in our business dealings without worrying about harassment or discrimination.”
Jenni Tranweaver, Founder/CEO, Jenni’s Noodle House, explained that HERO is in line with her values as a business owner:
“Houston businesses support diversity, fairness and equality. Not only is it the right thing to do, it keeps us competitive. Attracting top talent and keeping Houston a place we all want to live, work and conduct business is one of my top priorities as a business owner. That is why I am confident that voters will uphold the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance in November and I am grateful that our city council will let the people vote.”
We look forward to working alongside these proud Houstonians and local coalition partners to ensure that voters in the 4th largest city in the nation vote to uphold this critical ordinance on November 3rd.