Discrimination Case Filed Against Midtown Nightclub Shows Need for Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance

October 23, 2015

Anna Núñez | anna@houstonunites.org713-325-7010 office | 713-857-9160 cell

HOUSTON – Today, the three African-American attorneys – Brandon Ball, Dan Scarbrough, and Ken Pigee – who were charged a cover last month at the Gaslamp nightclub, while white patrons got in for free, filed a federal lawsuit against the club under Title 2 of the Civil Rights Act. The men held a news conference this morning outlining their case, which underscores the need for Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance.

“These guys were literally left with no option but to make a costly federal case out of what happened to them at the Gaslamp,” said Adriana Piñon, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance provides a free, local tool to deal with discrimination claims like these, not to mention the new allegations the same nightclub discriminated against Latina women. When you take a step back, Proposition 1 is about treating all Houstonians, no matter their race or gender, fairly and equally under the law.”

A majority of all discrimination claims (56 percent) filed with the city in the past year were based on race, according the city’s Inspector General.

Ball describes what happened to him at the nightclub in a new radio ad by the Houston Branch of the NAACP.

“On September 11, 2015, me and two friends were charged to get into a local Houston establishment, while white patrons were allowed entry at no charge,” says Ball in the ad. “It’s discrimination, and that’s unacceptable.”

The ad supports Proposition 1.

Reports earlier this week by Channel 2 and Houston Press uncover new allegations of the Gaslamp charging Hispanic women a cover charge, while letting white men in for free. Dr. Laura Murillo, president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce addresses the incident in a forthcoming video.

Every Houstonian – regardless of race, age, gender, pregnancy, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or military status – should have the opportunity to earn a living, take care of their families, have housing, and be served by businesses and government, without fear of discrimination.


Houston Unites is the campaign working to win a “YES” vote on Proposition 1, Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, in November. The leading partners include: ACLU of Texas, Equality Texas, Freedom for All Americans, Human Rights Campaign, NAACP Houston Branch and Texas Freedom Network.