The controversial Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is now suspended. The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday the city must either repeal it, or let voters decide on in November.
In a unanimous decision, 9 court justices found the City of Houston had a Charter requirement to act immediately on the recall petition once it was certified by City Secretary Anna Russell. The ruling said the City Charter allows Houston City Council no discretion to re-evaluate the worthiness of the petition.
The HERO ordinance aimed at protecting gay and transgender people from discrimination in employment and public places, became controversial because it also allowed transgender individuals to use either men’s or women’s bathrooms.
Houston pastors lead the petition drive. Their attorney, Andy Taylor says Friday’s victory isn’t about race, religion,or sexual orientation. It’s about the right to vote.
“It doesn’t matter what you and your conscience believe when you go into the ballot box,” Taylor said. “It’s about protecting the right to go to the ballot box.”
Mayor Annise Parker says the court’s decision is disappointing and that the city is weighing its options.
The Texas Supreme Court’s ruling says Houston City Council mush repeal HERO by Aug. 24, or the ordinance will automatically be placed on the ballot for voters to decide.