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Petition Drive Seeks To Repeal Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

Houston Mayor Annise Parker vows to keep the measure on the books.

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HERO_Petition.jpg Houston Mayor Annise Parker gathers at City Hall with supporters of the city’s Equal Rights Ordinance.

The City of Houston will now start verifying names on a petition that seeks to repeal the new equal rights ordinance.

Former Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill says he now has over 17,000 signatures from people opposed to the ordinance.

The measure bans discrimination based on factors such as race, gender, and age, but it also extends equal rights protection to gay and transgendered people.

Woodfill says opponents of the ordinance don’t like the idea of men who identify as women being able to use female restrooms.

“It’s outrageous that ten members of city council would vote for such an ordinance, and when folks in the city become aware of the particulars in this particular ordinance, they say, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

Houston Mayor Annise Parker responds by saying the ordinance applies to many different groups, and she questions the focus on bathrooms, something that’s not in the ordinance.

Parker says she expects a vigorous effort to keep the measure on the books.

“This was not a narrowly-focused special interest ordinance. This is something the business and civic community of Houston was firmly behind.”

Parker anticipates some of the petition’s signatures will be ruled invalid because everyone who signs has to be a registered voter in the City of Houston.

If backers of the petition drive prevail, a recall measure would go on the ballot this fall.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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