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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Houston passes human rights ordinance

Houston City Hall

The Houston City Council on Wednesday passed an ordinance extending equal rights protections to LGBT residents, reports the Houston Chronicle. The decision passed on an 11-6 vote and received applause from supporters after nine hours of discussion that included personal testimonies. Opponents say they will pursue repeal.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which became known as HERO, bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and reinforces federal anti-discrimination laws on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status. It applies to businesses serving the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting. Violators could be fined as much as $5,000. Religious institutions are exempt.
Houston’s mayor, Annise Parker, is known as the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city. She is credited with bringing the measure to a vote.