The Conservative-leaning Supreme Court of Texas has sided with anti-Equality plaintiffs in a Friday morning ruling. Here’s the story from Rebecca Elliott of the Houston Chronicle…
The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Houston City Council must repeal the city’s equal rights ordinance or place it on the November ballot.
The ruling comes three months after a state district judge ruled that opponents of Houston’s contentious non-discrimination ordinance passed last year failed to gather enough valid signatures to force a repeal referendum.
“We agree with the Relators that the City Secretary certified their petition and thereby invoked
the City Council’s ministerial duty to reconsider and repeal the ordinance or submit it to popular
vote,” the Texas Supreme Court wrote in a per curiam opinion. “The legislative power reserved to the people of Houston is not being honored.”
The city’s equal right ordinance bans discrimination based not just on sexual orientation and gender identity but also, as federal laws do, sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status.
Houston City Council has 30 days to repeal the ordinance or place it on the November ballot.
The ruling overturns a lower court decision of the district court. It also seems to ignore copious evidence submitted by the city that proved the petitions were wrought with fallacies, including not listing the resident county of the signee, some pages that may have been forged, and other issues.
A sample page from the original petition to place HERO on the ballot reveals that plantiffs did not comply with Texas Election Code which governs how petitions must be submitted.
Oddly enough in the full text of the Texas Supreme Court opinion, the author even makes explicit mention of the rules governing how citizens must submit petitions. One has to wonder if the court actually saw the document before issuing their decision.
During the 30 day decision period, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance has been suspended, effective immediately per the ruling.
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