Houston Approves Equal Rights Ordinance With LGBT Protections

A low level victory, but a victory none-the-less.

The Houston City Council, led by out Mayor Annise Parker, passed an ordinance Wednesday that prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Houston City Council members approved the measure, or the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, after hearing hours of passionate testimony in a 11-6 vote. More than 220 people testified before the council, Parker said, with a majority in favor of the ordinance.

“I do love this city,” Parker said upon passage of the ordinance. “While much of the debate has centered around the gay and lesbian protections in the ordinance, it is a comprehensive ordinance. … It is a good step forward for the city of Houston.”

The ordinance broadly bans discrimination — on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity — as well as on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military states, religion, disability, genetic information, or pregnancy.

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