Equal Rights Ordinance Opponents Prepare Referendum Petition
Even when it’s over, it’s never really over.
The Houston City Council passed the Equal Rights Ordinance last week. Free Press Houston applauded the move for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected characteristics for government and public services.
The city council made it illegal to discriminate against gays and transgender people for hiring, firing and housing.
Even though the ordinance passed, opponents of the bill are gearing up to challenge it. They feel that it infringes on the religious liberty of Christians.
“There was just so much community response to the city council’s putting that through and it felt like the citizenry didn’t have a real chance to express themselves,” Dr. Gary Moore of Second Baptist Church told Free Press Houston.
Opponents of the bill are gearing up to make their voices heard. A Harris County GOP rep did not respond to comment in time for publication.
“I encourage each of you to join me in taking a stand against the ordinance proposed by a Mayor who admits that the ordinance is all about her personal agenda and the campaign promises she made to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (‘LGBT’) community,” Harris County GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill wrote.
“The next step in this battle is to promote and circulate a petition that would force a city-wide referendum to repeal Mayor Parker’s Sexual Predator Protection Act.”
The Harris County Republican Party has set up a website to help collect signatures. They can put the ordinance up for vote on a city-wide referendum if they collect 17,000 signatures by June 30.
“People just felt like there was so much public response around the courthouse and in city hall that this is an issue that all of Houston needs to vote on,” Moore said.
Moore said he did not know the progress of the petition and could not predict its chance of success.
Maverick Welsh, president of gay rights group The Caucus, said he was unconcerned about a potential referendum.
“I think history’s on our side,” he said. “Their elected representatives overwhelmingly voted in favor of this ordinance. I think they wouldn’t have done so had the voters not been on the same page.
“I’m very confident. I think overwhelmingly most people will side with equality.”
by Guest Author