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Politics

Report Gives Houston A ‘C’ On LGBTQ Legal Protections

The Human Rights Campaign ranks Houston well below other major Texas cities, largely due its repeal of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO)

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Houston gets a barely passing grade on LGBTQ equality, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The civil rights organization gives Houston 75 out of 100 points in its latest Municipal Equality Index. The report rates more than 500 American cities on the strength of legal protections for LGBTQ individuals. Voters' repeal of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in 2015 put the city well behind Texas' four next-largest cities.

"We have four all-star cities in Texas – Austin [100], Dallas [100], Fort Worth [100], San Antonio [95] – and each of those cities have citywide protections that expressly cover sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations. And I think that's the primary distinction between these cities and Houston," said Xavier Persad, legislative counsel at the Human Rights Campaign and the report's author.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick played a leading role in the HERO repeal fight. Earlier this year, Patrick led multiple efforts to pass a so-called bathroom bill, pre-empting all local ordinances that protect LGBTQ rights. The bill never passed the House.

The index rates 25 Texas cities. Taken together, Texas cities earns an average score of 41 out of 100. The national average is 57.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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