In a scene out of Anita Bryant's 1970s Florida, voters in the nation's fourth-largest city repealed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance by a huge margin tonight, after months of repulsive fear-mongering and hatred. My first instinct is to point a finger at LGBT icon and Houston native Beyonce for not trying to drum up support for it -- thanks for nothing, gurl -- but my gut says most of Texas is so out of touch with decency that it wouldn't have made any difference anyway.
Mayor Annise D. Parker, who is gay, has accused opponents of using fear mongering to generate support for a repeal
The Chronicle reports:
Houston's controversial equal rights ordinance failed by a wide margin Tuesday, with voters opting to repeal the law that offered broad non-discrimination protections, according to incomplete and unofficial returns. The hotly contested election has spurred national attention, drawing comment from the White House and the state's top officials. Largely conservative opponents of the law allege that it would allow men dressed as women, including sexual predators, to enter women's restrooms. Supporters of the law, including Mayor Annise Parker, argue that it extends an important local recourse for a range of protected classes to respond to discrimination. Supporters released a written statement Tuesday night: "We are disappointed with today's outcome, but our work to secure nondiscrimination protections for all hard-working Houstonians will continue. No one should have to live with the specter of discrimination hanging over them. Everyone should have the freedom to work hard, earn a decent living and provide for themselves and their families." The ordinance bans discrimination based not just on gender identity and sexual orientation, but also 13 classes already protected under federal law: sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status. Businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing and city contracting are all subject to the law and face up to $5,000 in fines for violations. Religious institutions, however, are exempt. The ordinance was in effect for only three months between extensive legal challenges.I have just one response: Let the boycotts begin.
P.S. It looks like once-progressive-looking Kentucky is screwed too with the election of Kim Davis-supporting Matt Bevin as governor. (The Democrat was so cute, too.)