Houston Equal Rights Ordinance Will Not Go On Ballot – But Won’t Go Into Effect Yet Either


Opponents of Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance have lost their bid to get the law on the ballot in November, but the law will go before a judge next year.

Two pastors, a former GOP County Chairman, and several anti-gay activists today lost their attempts to put Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) before the voters in November. The Houston City council passed the measure in May. It was supposed to go into effect next month, but Mayor Annise Parker (image) has delayed implementation pending legal action.

LoneStarQ reports "a state district judge scheduled a trial for Jan. 19, 2015, to determine whether the petition has enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. Judge Robert Schaffer set the trial after opponents of the ordinance agreed to drop their request for an injunction that sought to force a public vote on the ordinance in November 2014, the Houston Chronicle reports. Opponents’ injunction request was also rejected by an appeals court, which said it would only consider the matter after the district court issues a decision."

The Chronicle reports that a "three-judge panel ruled that the emergency writ of mandamus plaintiffs sought would have the same result as a favorable ruling in their pending lawsuit that went before Schaffer's court Friday," and thus denied the request by the anti-gay activists.

Despite having submitted double the number of signed petitions to force the law onto the ballot, Houston City Attorney David Feldman's certified only 15,249 signatures -- about 2,000 shy of the necessary 17,269 signatures that would have forced a vote.

Pastor Dave Welch of the Houston Area Pastors Council earlier this month told reporters that Mayor Parker's "administration has once again excluded people. Complete lack of integrity. Which we're not surprised either, so we're going to pursue legal remedies and we'll see what form that takes."

That form will take the signed petitions to a court of law.

Houston LGBT groups offered a few thoughts via Twitter.


Image of Annise Parker via Facebook