A couple weeks ago, Political Outcast posted on Houston’s recent referendum on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). A few days later on November 3, voters squelched HERO. Statements from voters called the results a victory for decency as the measure sought to allow men who identify as women to have access to women’s restrooms and vice-versa.
Now, in Dallas, the City Council has unanimously approved a law very similar to HERO. The Dallas Morning News Reports:
This morning, the council went the extra step by separating sexual orientation from gender identity. The council voted unanimously on the amendment, which now reads, “It is the policy of the city of Dallas to bring about through fair, orderly, and lawful procedures the opportunity for every person to obtain employment, access to all places of public accommodation, and housing, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.”
The city’s LGBT Task Force, of which council member Adam Medrano is chair, has been working on the new language for more than a year.
Despite the long-standing definition in the city code, “the transgender community believes they’re not included because the definition of gender identity is stuffed into sexual orientation,” LGBT task force member Patti Fink told the council shortly before the vote. She asked the council to pass the amendment “so it’s clear to those who live in this city [that] they have protections.”
Said Fink, with the amendment transgender individuals can “see themselves in this ordinance very clearly. This move makes that possible. They don’t have to look under one line in Section 18 for the definition of sexual orientation to make sure gender identity is included.”
Following a lengthy closed-door discussion about the amendment at Monday’s Quality of Life Committee meeting, it was unclear if there’d be much discussion among the full council. There wasn’t any, save for a few words from Medrano about the task force’s work (“we’ve been able to do a lot for equality”) and a brief hear, hear from the mayor.
Interestingly, the HERO measure in Houston started as a law passed without a vote by the citizens, too. Once the voters had a chance to weigh in on the issue, they demonstrated that the public is not ready to put the safety of their families at risk. No one wants women and children to be put in a situation where men are allowed in the same restrooms with them. Decency and morality are at stake, despite what the LGBT lobby says:
In response to numerous phone calls and tweets, . . . council member Lee Kleinman wants to make one thing very, very clear: “This is not a bathroom ordinance, it is an anti-discrimination ordinance update.”
It is likely only a matter of time until the City of Dallas has a public vote on this issue. When they do, we can hope it will go the way of HERO, and another victory for decency will be won.