Houston’s (obviously bigoted, homophobic, red-neck) voters rejected the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent. The measure would have established additional nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in the city, as well as ‘other’ groups.
"I fear that this will have stained Houston's reputation as a tolerant, welcoming, global city," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said of the result. "I absolutely fear that there will be a direct economic backlash as a result of this ordinance going into defeat and that's sad for Houston.”
The mayor and city council are now expected to pursue a range of options, from issuing clear rhetorical statements about inclusion and accessibility in the city to attempting to push through other ordinances similar to HERO.
The Super Bowl is scheduled to be held in Houston in 2017, and some activists are mulling over plans to ask the NFL to move the game to another venue in support of LGBTQ people and other groups that HERO was designed to ‘protect.’
Conservative groups led the effort to defeat the ordinance, adopting the slogan, “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms,” intimating that allowing transgender people to use the sex-specific bathroom reflecting their ‘preferred gender identity’ would allow sexual predators to camp out in women’s restrooms.
HERO’s supporters, including mayor Parker, Houston’s first openly gay mayor, say they will continue the fight, despite the voter’s victory via the ballot box.
"I guarantee that justice in Houston will prevail,” Parker said. “This ordinance, you have not seen the last of. We're united. We will prevail."
All right, then. That statement doesn’t seem very tolerant of the voters or of the democratic process itself. Nor does it seem very open-minded or ‘inclusive’ of the majority. But that’s not the point.