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Running Against The Equal Rights Ordinance: Candidate For Houston Mayor Ben Hall

Former City Attorney Ben Hall was the runner-up in the 2013 election for Houston mayor. He’s back this year in a crowded field vying to replace Annise Parker, who is not running due to term limits.


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One of Ben Hall's signature issues is repeal of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, also known as HERO. The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity among 13 other characteristics.

Hall says while he's not opposed to an anti-discrimination law, he's concerned that this one will effectively eliminate gender-based bathrooms, because the ordinance doesn't specifically mention transgender people.

"The ordinance simply says, at any time – it does not specify a specific time – that you self-identify that you are some gender other than what you're anatomically configured, then you're considered that gender for purposes of the ordinance," Hall says.

He says he would have defined gender identity as determined by a judge or a medical professional. The equal rights ordinance defines it as "an individual's innate identification, appearance, expression or behavior as either male or female."

On other issues, Hall says he wants to make City Hall less bureaucratic, make living inside the city more attractive to boost revenue without having to raise taxes, and change the city's pension system.

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