A “YES” vote on Proposition 1 is a vote for treating everyone in Houston fairly and equally under the law.
Houston Equal Rights Ordinance ensures that a broad range of hardworking Houstonians – regardless of race, age, gender, orientation, pregnancy, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or military status – has the opportunity to earn a living, take care of their families, have housing, and be served by businesses and government, without fear of discrimination.
Discrimination has no place in our city. Discrimination against any Houstonian creates an unequal playing field. The Equal Rights Ordinance levels that playing field by protecting people from discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces like restaurants.
It’s surprising to think that before this ordinance was passed, it was legal in Houston to discriminate against people who are gay or transgender – but it’s true. This ordinance also strengthens protections for everyone else.
In fact, 56 percent of the complaints filed in Houston while the equal rights ordinance was on the books were related to racial discrimination, with another 17 percent based on gender or pregnancy discrimination (City of Houston’s Inspector General, 2015)
Discrimination is bad for business.
Houston is a major hub for business in the United States. The Greater Houston Partnership backs Proposition 1 because a “welcoming, diverse and inclusive” community is a key to “the continued success of the region’s economy.” And many Fortune 500 companies and small businesses in Texas – as well as the Houston Super Bowl Committee – have gone on record this year supporting equality for all Texans, including those who are gay and transgender.
Discrimination is bad for business – bad for the bottom line. HERO would help protect Houston’s vibrant pro-business climate.
The Equal Rights Ordinance is a local tool.
If you are subject to discrimination in the workplace or housing or a business in Houston, in most cases, you literally have to make a federal case out of it to get legal help with discrimination.
The Equal Rights Ordinance is a needed local tool to help protect all people in our community when they are treated unfairly – without making them jump through the hoops of filing a federal lawsuit or bearing the burden of costly, drawn-out legal battle.
Houston is the last major city in Texas to enact these protections. Other cities like Dallas, El Paso and San Antonio have had nondiscrimination protections like this on the books for over a decade.
Everyone cares about privacy.
Some people have raised concerns about the ordinance’s impact on privacy and comfort in bathrooms. Many people don’t personally know a transgender person, so it’s understandable some folks may have questions at first.
But what we need to remember is nothing in the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance changes the fact that it is – and always will be – illegal to enter a restroom and harm or harass other people.
What gets lost in this conversation is that this law actually provides needed protections to all Houstonians by banning discrimination due to race, disability, gender, and more – in employment, housing and restaurants and stores.