Questions Around Petition To Repeal Equal Rights In Houston

Questions Around Petition To Repeal Equal Rights In Houston

Opponents of Houston's equal rights ordinance plan to take the city to court over rejected petitions.
Thousands of pages of a petition to take down the HERO ordinance have been called into question by the city.

City officials say they've discovered that many of the pages were circulated by people who don't live in Houston.

"I fully expected it to end up on a ballot and that we would win. If it does not end up on a ballot it saves the city a significant amount of money."

Mayor Annise Parker says opponents of the ordinance that expands anti-bias protections for gay and transgender residents did not get enough valid signatures for it to end up on a ballot in November.

"We're just asking the administration what are you afraid of? If the mayor's so confident in her position on the vote then just frankly give the benefit to the voters and let us have a voice."

Dave Welch, Executive Director of the Houston Area Pastor Council and other religious leaders who helped gather signatures say legal action is on the way.

"I want to hear the voice of the voters. I want to hear people vote. The mayor is almost running this city like a dictator, not like a leader."

Opponents of the equal rights ordinance gathered almost 52,000 signatures.

They only needed about 17,000. And believe the city unconstitutionally excluded certain signatures.

But some supporters think the people have already spoken.

"I just think that the message is to be clear. You cannot hide bigotry behind the Bible."

Our legal expert Gerald Treece says it is clear that opponents have a whole lot of signatures to make up.

But he also says that the courts often side with the people's right to vote.

"The question is not will a lawsuit be filed against the city, the question is which group will win the race to the courthouse to file it."
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