Democrat-Republican Partnership Emerges to Protect the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance
The Houston Stonewall Young Democrats (HSYD) and the Log Cabin Republicans of Houston (LCRH) have decided to work together to protect the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) from being repealed.
One might not expect anything to bring the two parties together, least of all HERO, which has been fought tooth and nail by a group of local conservatives. This is the first time the two organizations have ever participated in a joint effort; in fact, they are the only two-party organizations in Houston working together.
The leadership displayed by HSYD and LCRH can teach us all a valuable lesson, not just about cooperation and collaboration, but also about HERO. As James Lee, president of HSYD stated, “We have come together, despite our differences, because the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is more important than party affiliation.”
“It is always good when people can come together on a bipartisan basis to come to good legislation,” added Michael Baker, the Vice President of LCRH.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance reads: “Houston seeks to provide an environment that is free of any type of discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or pregnancy.”
HERO is for all Houstonians, including Democrats and Republicans, so it makes sense the two organizations would work together to protect it at the ballot box this November.
As Michael explained, HERO is something that will be beneficial for all Houstonians and the Houston economy.
“HERO is a business friendly policy which gives those who are discriminated against a local, swift solution that allows people with legitimate grievances an avenue to address discrimination complaints without the involvement of federal courts and costly, time consuming litigation.”
Since May 2014–from the approval of HERO to the recent Texas Supreme Court ruling requiring HERO to be repealed or put to a public vote–President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, Bob Harvey, has continuously supported HERO, arguing that it is good for both business and equality.
“We at the Partnership believe an ordinance that codifies our principles of non-discrimination is entirely appropriate,” Mr. Harvey stated during a public testimony at City Hall. “We have worked closely with other business associations, the Mayor, and members of City Council to help draft an ordinance that will be both effective and efficient – one that will neither require new staff at City Hall nor place an undue burden on Houston businesses – while speaking clearly to our values of respect for all Houstonians.”
Unfortunately, in order for HERO to remain in place Houstonians will have to vote in the November 3rd Mayoral Election. The ballot language for the ordinance will ask voters if they want the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. If you want Houston to keep the equal rights ordinance, you vote yes. If you want it repealed, you vote no.
This seems straightforward, but a vocal minority wants HERO to fail by confusing the public about what it really does. Smear campaigns, failed petition drives, and hate speech are the tactics of those against HERO. While supporters are coming together, putting aside the rhetoric and their own political ideologies for the betterment of Houston, the opposition is desperately trying to scare people into voting against HERO.
As the most ethnically and culturally diverse city in the nation, a city of 2.2 million people with varying beliefs, traditions, backgrounds and idiosyncrasies, it is time to move forward together. Houston is the only major city in the country and the only major city in Texas that does not have an equal rights ordinance of any kind.
The HSYD and LCRH put it plainly. “We believe that all Houstonians should have the right to live, work, and prosper in our great city, and HERO will provide them the ability to do just that.”