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Houstonians Unite to Defend Equal Rights Ordinance

The Equal Rights Houston Committee, representing a broad coalition of businesses, faith leaders, community organizations, teachers, medical professionals, public safety leaders, elected leaders and neighbors across Houston, announced its intention today to defend Houston’s landmark Equal Rights Ordinance against an attempt by opponents to repeal it.

Houstonians can join the campaign at

Mayor Annise Parker said:

“If opponents of equal rights succeed at putting a referendum on the ballot, we will forcefully defend the Equal Rights Ordinance and make sure that Houston stays a place where everyone can work hard, provide for our families and give our kids the opportunity for a better life. That’s why a diverse coalition from the Greater Houston Partnership to the NAACP to LULAC to more than 70 faith leaders across Houston worked to support this ordinance.”

Councilmember Ellen Cohen said:

“I sponsored the Equal Rights Ordinance because I believe all people deserve to be treated fairly and equally and protected from discrimination. I led the Houston Area Women’s Center for 18 years, working to eliminate sexual and domestic violence against women. I can say with certainty that – despite misinformation being spread by opponents of the law – the Equal Rights Ordinance protects and empowers women and families.”

Rudy Rasmus, Sr. Pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church, said:

“As a humanitarian and community servant with ongoing efforts both globally and in my hometown of Houston, Texas, it is important that I support communities working to build equality. I stand for equality, dignity, and respect to be provided to all people. I support Mayor Parker’s efforts to fulfill the mission of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to support fair and equal treatment of all people.”

Lou Weaver, Houston LGBT Community Leader, said:

“African American Houstonians, Disabled Houstonians, LGBT Houstonians, Hispanic Houstonians, Asian American Houstonians, Houstonians from anywhere. We’re all Houstonians – and we deserve the dignity, respect and honor that proud name carries. I am a proud transgender man; I was designated female at birth, but I’ve lived as a man for the past seven years. I want to work hard, earn my way, provide for my family and not live in fear of being fired for reasons based on who I am or who I love and have nothing to do with my job performance. Every Houstonian deserves that opportunity.”

About the Ordinance

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance – often called HERO – modernizes our laws and strikes a balance. It provides a quick and inexpensive local tool to protect hard-working employees from being fired or discriminated against by a boss or manager who doesn’t do the right thing. And it lets businesses hold all employees to the same professional standards.

The comprehensive ordinance protects Houstonians from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or pregnancy. Exemptions are provided for religious organizations and small businesses. A copy of the ordinance can be viewed at:

To view a list of suporters and learn more, visit

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