Houston Will Not Make LGBT a Protected Class

Ed Schipul is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Controversial ordinance for special rights to LGBTs in Houston will not be seeing the light of day.

After causing a ruckus in the political arena, the non-discrimination ordinance that offered special protection to members of the LGBT community failed to win the hearts of Houston’s residents this Tuesday.

The ordinance, which was the focus of several fights, accusations, protests, and marches, received a clear no-go. According to reports that came in from 95% of the precincts, 61% of the votes were cast against the ordinance, while only 39% showed support.

According to the supporters, the ordinance’s objective was to provide a higher level of protection for the members of the LGBT community, along with protection against any form of discrimination against them.

However, the opponent groups, which included conservative pastors, stated that the ordinance was infringing on their beliefs, especially on their belief against homosexuality. But, the final win came as a result of the opponent’s strategic focus on the use of public bathrooms by Transgender. They stated that this would serve as an opportunity for sexual predators to access women’s private spaces.

Houston Mayor and Democrat, Annise Parker, who is also a member of the LGBT community, stated that the voters were swayed against the ordinance mainly due to the “bathroom clause”. She also blamed the opposition for spreading fear against the LGBTs.

 In her speech to an election night watch party at Downtown Houston, Parker also said that the opponents ran a very strategic and calculated campaign motivated by right wing ideology.

According to supporter, Maria Gonzalez, an English Instructor at the University of Houston, the topic of gay people has always driven a wedge between people and that the opponents do not want gay and transgender people protected.

On the other side, elected Republican Governors Dan Patrick and Greg Abbott were more than happy to express their joy over the failure of the ordinance. They even went onto state that the voters clearly showed how values still matter to the people of Houston.

Dan Patrick even labeled the ordinance as “liberal nonsense” and that it had nothing to do with equality because a law giving equal status to the LGBT community already exists. According to him, the ordinance was only about letting men into women’s private rooms; something that clearly defies common sense and decency.

Seth Meyers examined how the ordinance was shot down on his show, Late Night with Seth Meyers:

Approval for the ordinance was given in May 2014 by the Houston City Council, but a lawsuit demanding a vote on the matter was passed on to the Texas Supreme Court. The court ordered in favor of the lawsuit.

If passed, the ordinance would have been applicable to all businesses that serve the public, except religious institutions. Residents would have had the right to file complaints if there was any form of discrimination experienced or witnessed by them. 

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