HOUSTON (BP) — The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is now in effect, codifying protected class status based on sexual orientation and gender, following a local judge’s ruling April 17. “We will appeal,” Dave Welch, executive director of the Houston Area Pastors Council, said, “and we will fight for justice … all the way to the Texas Supreme Court.”
District Judge Robert Schaffer’s ruling credited HERO’s opponent’s petition drive with 16,684 valid signatures — 585 short of the 17,269 requirement that would have placed the ordinance on the ballot last November. These were the only signatures deemed legitimate out of nearly 54,000 signatures collected despite being verified by a notary. Andy Taylor, lead attorney in opposition with HERO, said he is confident thousands of signatures will be reinstated on the next appeal.
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