Texas Supreme Court Strips Nondiscrimination Protections from LGBT Houstonians

July 24, 2015 • 3:50 pm

Dan Rafter | [email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Texas Supreme Court today ordered the Houston City Council to repeal the HERO Act, an ordinance passed in 2014 extending nondiscrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Houstonites; or to put the ordinance on the ballot this November. The Court also immediately suspended enforcement of the HERO Act.

Freedom for All Americans campaign manager Matt McTighe issued the following statement:

“It’s disturbing that the Texas Supreme Court is moving so aggressively to halt enforcement of an ordinance that protects so many people. This isn’t just an ordinance that protects LGBT people – it also covers discrimination based on military service, sex, race, ethnicity, age, marital status and disability, among others.

“At a time when so many Americans – Republicans foremost among them – are coming together to support nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, the Texas Supreme Court is setting a dangerous precedent. The Houston City Council is elected by the people, and last year the Council voted in favor of these protections. The Texas Supreme Court should respect that vote and not endanger countless Houstonians.

Freedom for All Americans also joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Equality Texas, Texas Freedom Network, Texas Wins, Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal in speaking out against today’s order from the Texas Supreme Court. The group noted in a statement:

“HERO embodies Houston values, and we are confident that the voters will uphold it should it end up on the ballot this fall. The fact that enforcement of the ordinance has been suspended, despite it being passed by the City Council, places at risk Houstonians who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. HERO currently protects 15 different classes, including sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity and pregnancy—in employment, housing and public accommodations.

“Houston cannot afford to be the one of the largest, most culturally diverse and business-friendly cities in the nation without comprehensive anti-discrimination protections. Discrimination is bad for business. But we believe Houston voters will agree that everyone who lives in and visits this great city has the right to be free from discriminatory and unequal treatment.” 

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign dedicated to ensuring every gay and transgender American is fully protected from discrimination under the law, no matter where they live. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses big and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally. 

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