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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 30, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 44
NAACP endorses Houston LGBT rights ordinance
Section One
ALL STORIES
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NAACP endorses Houston LGBT rights ordinance

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The NAACP has endorsed Houston's LGBT rights ordinance.

The law is threatened by an initiative campaign to overturn it, which will be decided by a vote on November 3. The Yes side - to keep the measure on the books - has a small lead in polls, with many voters still saying they are undecided.

The NAACP endorsement is a significant boost to the Yes side, with about 25% of Houston's residents being African-American.

The Equal Rights Ordinance, passed in May 2014, is the signature legislative achievement of Houston's popular Lesbian mayor, Annise Parker. The law extends civil rights protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations to the city's LGBT community.

'The vote in Houston will carry national significance,' said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. Houston, with 2.2 million residents, is more populous than 15 states, she added.

Several national LGBT rights groups have sent staff to Houston to support the ordinance. If it is defeated, Houston will be the only one of the country's 10 largest cities to lack laws explicitly protecting LGBT residents.

Mayor Parker, who was elected in 2009 and is now completing her third and final term, expressed exasperation with distortions propagated by the No side.

'The fact there is so much misinformation and not just misinformation, just out-and-out ludicrous lies, is very frustrating,' Parker told reporters. 'I'm worried about the image of Houston around the world as a tolerant, welcoming place if this goes down.'

Other American cities will be watching Houston on November 3, said James Douglas, the president of Houston's NAACP chapter.

'All those cities that are smaller than us are looking to us because they want to be like us,' Douglas said. :And we want to give them a perfect example of what a major, diverse city ought to look like.'

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