In May 2014, the Houston City Council passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of 15 characteristics, including sex, race, color, national origin, age, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy.
Opponents of the ordinance had one month to collect approximately 17,000 signatures to force the city council to repeal HERO, or place it on a citywide ballot. These opponents filed suit when signatures they collected were declared invalid resulting in an insufficient number of valid signatures. The lawsuit was sent to a jury trial to determine whether or not opponents of the ordinance had collected sufficient signatures to place HERO on the ballot. The jury has completed their work and the judge will now take their findings into his deliberations.
Statement from Equality Texas executive director Chuck Smith:
“All people—including those who are gay or transgender—should be treated fairly and equally by the laws of the City of Houston, and should have the opportunity to earn a living to provide for themselves and their families. Nobody should have to live in fear of being fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance. Equality Texas looks forward to the day very soon when HERO will be enforced and every resident of Houston will be protected from discrimination in city employment, city services, city contracting practices, housing, public accommodations, and private employment.”
To learn more about who HERO protects, please watch this informational video.