As election day fast approaches, the situation surrounding the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance continues to be complex. Showing no concern for perception, the State Supreme Court has jumped at the chance to heighten the drama. As Mike Morris of the Houston Chronicle reports, the fact that City Council placed HERO on the ballot is not sufficient…
The Texas Supreme Court has again overruled Mayor Annise Parker’s administration in connection with the legal fight over her signature nondiscrimination ordinance, ruling Wednesday that the mayor and City Council erred in choosing the language that will appear on the November ballot when the ordinance faces possible repeal.
The justices, writing in “yet another mandamus proceeding concerning the City of Houston’s equal rights ordinance,” said the city charter is clear in requiring that voters be asked to vote for or against the ordinance. Parker had instead argued it was proper to vote for or against repealing the measure, and the council approved language with that approach Aug. 5.
“Though the ordinance is controversial, the law governing the City Council’s duties is clear. Our decision rests not on our views on the ordinance — a political issue the citizens of Houston must decide — but on the clear dictates of the City Charter,” the justices wrote. “The City Council must comply with its own laws regarding the handling of a referendum petition and any resulting election.”
Plaintiff and conservative activist Jared Woodfill said the original ballot language was “all about deception and trickery.” Woodfill noted that opponents have now sought and won two opinions on the ordinance at the state Supreme Court — the first essentially forcing a repeal or vote on the ordinance and now one on the actual ballot language.
“Deception and trickery” are an interesting choice of words from Mr. Woodfill. Given the ridiculous amount of time that he, the Houston Area Pastor Council and HERO opponents spend promoting the myth of predatory males lurking in a women’s restrooms, he’d seem to be an expert at both. They have lied about the non-discrimination ordinance every step of the way, and two Supreme Court rulings in their favor cannot change that as fact.
But unfortunately, what this latest ruling can do is force City Council to call a special meeting and review the ballot language before the August 24th deadline. As discussed previously, the ballot language is hugely important to HERO opponents because it allows them to deploy campaign tactics which have been successful in previous situations. It also means that all of the propaganda and information they’ve already produced against HERO does not have to be changed.
If there is any positive to be had, it’s that Houston Unites— the campaign launched to protect the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, has now launched and is off to a great head start. Check back later this week for more information on the Houston Unites group.
Texas Leftist will have more as it develops.
(Photo credit: RMI Limited)