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Houston mayor: Passing a non-discrimination law is ‘something we should do’

Friday, September 20, 2013
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HOUSTON — San Antonio’s recent passage of an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance leaves Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city, as the only major metropolitan area in Texas without its own citywide ordinance, and mayor Annise Parker says the city should follow suit.

Annise Parker

Annise Parker

“It is absolutely something we should do, and the majority of council members have publicly stated they are in support of a nondiscrimination ordinance,” said Annise Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a major American city. “But this is an issue that requires all of council to be engaged and agree it is time to move it forward. When it happens, we will do that.”

Unlike other Texas municipalities, Houston has a charter amendment that makes the council unable to pass an ordinance without voter approval.

But, says Parker, “the majority of council members have publicly stated they are in support of a non-discrimination ordinance.”

“This is an issue that requires all of the council to be engaged and agree it’s time to move it forward,” she said. “We watched what happened in San Antonio and we’ll certainly talk to them about the process and then we’ll make our own decision.”

Political observers agree that debate over a non-discrimination ordinance would be contentious, however, most think that with the mayor’s leadership, a proposed ordinance would likely succeed.

A spokesperson for Parker, who is up for reelection to a third and final term in office, indicated that any push for a non-discrimination ordinance would not be expected until after the November elections.

In addition to San Antonio, similar measures have already been passed in Dallas, Fort Worth, and the state’s capital city of Austin.

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