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Houston Discrimination Ordinance Must Be Repealed or Voted On
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Summary: The Texas Supreme Court ruled that the city of Houston was required by their city charter to listen to the public and either repeal or vote on the anti-discrimination ordinance.

Houston has been told by the Texas Supreme Court to either drop their equal rights ordinance or plan a referendum. The ordinance placed in 2014 that prevents discrimination in the workplace against gay and transgendered employees must stop being enforced or allowed by the public to vote on this year in November.


A group of citizens organized the petition against the ordinance, demanding the Houston City Council to let the public vote on it or repeal it. They provided a valid number of signatures to the city secretary. They city still said it would not reconsider the ordinance so they sued the city in a district court. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief. When they still did not receive that relief, they went to the high court.

After looking at the city’s charter and the verification of the signatures, the high court decided that the city had the obligation to reconsider the ordinance or let the public vote on it. The court said that the people of Houston have the right to be heard.

The city is required by their charter to reconsider an ordinance or put it to a vote when they are presented with a valid number of signatures, which they did not do. The court gave the city until August 24 to repeal the ordinance and if they do not do that then the ordinance will go to the vote in November.

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Much of the issue with the ordinance was in the wording. Kevin Troutman of Fisher & Phillips suggests that the mayor and city council make a better ordinance that pleases more.




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