Equal rights. It sounds good. What could be wrong with any kind of equal rights? In Houston, Texas, the voters are getting ready to weigh in of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance on November 3. The ordinance was voted in by progressive Mayor Annise Parker and the City Council in May of 2014. The mayor and the council claimed this ordinance exists to protect the rights of all people in a vast number of areas. The ballot next week is a referendum to repeal the ordinance by citizens who say the law encroaches on their freedoms.
HERO opponents have taken to the airwaves to voice their concerns. They insisted outlawing discrimination based on “gender identity” could prove dangerous. Even Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick weighed in on the measure, saying if HERO is allowed to stand grown men could enter a woman’s restroom anytime whenever they want.
“It’s not about equal rights. Equal rights are covered under the law. What it is about, by voting no to stop men who on any given day can consider themselves a woman and can go into a woman’s restroom,” said Lt. Governor Patrick. “If defies common sense and decency.”
Supporters insist the ordinance protects people by outlawing discrimination in these 15 categories: sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, and pregnancy.
Supporters such as David Leslie with Rothko Chapel in Montrose told abc13 this matter is about human dignity. He said voters should say yes to HERO if they want to move Houston in a positive direction.
“We’re all children of God. We’re all from the same creator. We’re all different. In those differences, we should expect some protections,” said Leslie.
“HERO protects all people’s rights. I think for those who are concerned about people who may do something that is illegal, those protections are already here. Illegal behavior is already illegal behavior. I don’t think there’s much to worry about.”
The conflict comes down to whether people want more government intervention in their lives or not. Under HERO, the government will force private citizens to make accommodations to all kinds of individuals, whether you agree with them or not. It opens the door for violations of privacy among the sexes. It will also make it harder for parents to protect their children if just anyone can use any bathroom.
If this law is upheld in Houston, it is only a matter of time until one like it is in place in every city in the US. May common sense voters prevail.