Houston GLBT Caucus Calls Out Council on NDO

In contemporary times, it’s difficult to win any election without endorsements. Short of spending a fortune on TV ads, they are often the best way to get a candidate’s name out to the voters. But as any candidate is well aware, endorsements typically have to be earned through a record of service and a rigorous screening process.

For Houston and Harris County, one of the most important endorsements that a political candidate can earn is that of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. The Caucus endorsement means additional votes, and has been the difference between victory and defeat in several local races. So it’s no surprise that most of the municipal candidates for office, both Democrat and Republican, seek this most esteemed prize.

Yesterday, the GLBT Caucus redefined the brewing debate over Houston’s coming Human Rights Ordinance. Though Mayor Parker made a firm pledge to pass a Human Rights Ordinance in her recent State of the City speech, the planned legislation, to the disappointment of many in progressive community, does not extend to private employment because it wouldn’t have the votes to pass Council. But judging from the GLBT Caucus’ 2013 candidate questionnaire, those votes should already be locked down. Eleven Council Members promised to support a comprehensive Non-Discrimination Ordinance during the Caucus screening process, and now that organization is calling them out on that promise.

Posted on the group’s Facebook page, the Caucus confirms that Council Members Jerry Davis, Ellen Cohen, Dwight Boykins, Ed Gonzalez, Robert Gallegos, Mike Laster, Larry Green, Steven Costello, David W. Robinson, C. O. Bradford and Jack Christie all pledged public support for a comprehensive Non-Discrimination Ordinance.

Eleven votes (presumably twelve including the Mayor) out of a Sixteen-member Council is certainly enough to pass the ordinance, with more potential votes lining up. Noah M. Horwitz of Texpatriate did some legwork on this, and even spoke to CM Bradford directly for a most interesting response. I called Council Member Michael Kubosh’s office, and here is what a staff member had to say…

“Council Member Kubosh is against discrimination in all forms, and is looking forward to seeing the proposed ordinance.”

Even with this cautious response from a staff member, sources close to Texas Leftist say that Council Member Kubosh would be likely to support a Non-Discrimination Ordinance that extends to private employment. Said source worked with Kubosh on this issue prior to his election to City Council, and has spoken with him recently as well.

Of course there is no record of Kubosh’s stance, as he did not seek the GLBT Caucus endorsement. But for the Council Members that did, they deserve to be held to their word. Some questions still remain here… What about the other side? Who in the Business community is pressuring Council to not pass the ordinance? Why do they want to support discrimination, and more importantly, why is their voice on the issue loud enough to counter the voices of citizens?

Those answers need to be discovered. Lone Star Q has much more on the topic.