Houston Equal Rights Ordinance withstands petition for ballot referendum

Attempts to overturn Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance have failed, announced Mayor Annise Parker earlier this week. The new law, also known as HERO, includes non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and has been contested by many conservative religious groups in Texas. The opposition fell short in obtaining the 17,269 qualifying signatures required in order to put a referendum to the law on the ballot for the November election. Over 100 volunteers sifted through each signature and found duplicate signatures and possible signs of fraud, rendering the petition invalid. 

"As a native Houstonian I know that HERO is needed to ensure that my hometown doesn't discriminate, says founder of TransGriot Monica Roberts. "I'm pleased the opponent's petition drive failed . No one's human rights should be put to a vote, especially when it was obvious their petitions were riddled with problematic issues and fraud."

Although the petition didn't make the ballot, it didn't stop anti-LGBT activists Jared Woodfill and Steve Hotze from filing a lawsuit against the mayor and the city of Houston. They assert that the law was followed and the sufficient number of signatures were attained to put a referendum on the ballot.