Today marks another huge victory for the city of Houston and supporters of equality, as a Texas District court rules against petitioners of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. Here’s the story from Katherine Driessen of the Houston Chronicle…
After separate rulings from both a jury and state District Judge Robert Schaffer, attorneys for both sides entered dueling counts of the valid signatures, adding and subtracting voters as Schaffer responded to motions. By early this week, the counts were closer together than ever before, fewer than 1,000 signatures apart.
Ultimately, Schaffer on Friday ruled the final count of valid signatures was 16,684, leaving opponents short of the threshold required in the city charter of 17,249 signatures, or 10 percent of the ballots cast in the last mayoral election.
The law, on hold during trial, is now in effect, according to a city spokeswoman. Mayor Annise Parker released a statement celebrating the verdict.
“I would hope that the plaintiffs would not appeal, they lost during a jury trial and today they also lost with the judge’s ruling,” Parker said. “Now all Houstonians have access to the same protections.”
The day’s news marks the end of a huge week for Houston Mayor Annise Parker as well, who just gave her final State of the City address on Thursday.
Though the District Court ruling may come as quite the surprise to many Texans, it should be of little surprise to those familiar with the shoddy work of Anti-HERO petitioners. When reviewing the signatures City of Houston officials, independent review groups, the jury and the judge were all able to uncover glaring errors and inconsistencies. Yet still, today’s decision is both a relief for supporters and a great victory, as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance can now take full effect.
More news is surely to come.