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Hundreds rally outside Houston city hall to protest equal rights ordinance

Mayor dropping controversial plan to allow transgender people to use public restrooms of the gender with which they most closely identify
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
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HOUSTON — Various pastors along with several hundred people gathered outside Houston City Hall to protest a proposed ordinance that would expand anti-bias protections for gay and transgender residents.

Hundreds gather outside Houston City Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, to protest a proposed ant-discrimination ordinance.KTRK-TV

Hundreds gather outside Houston City Hall on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, to protest a proposed ant-discrimination ordinance.

Those who protested the ordinance Tuesday say the measure would infringe on their religious liberties to speak out against what they called the gay, lesbian and transgender lifestyle.

Supporters of the ordinance, including Mayor Annise Parker, who is openly gay, say the measure is about offering protections at the local level against all forms of discrimination.

The proposal would consolidate city bans on discrimination based on sex, race, age and religion, and increase protections for gay and transgender residents.

But on Tuesday, Parker said she’s dropping one of the most controversial parts of her proposed ordinance, removing a plan to allow transgender people to use public restrooms facilities of the gender with which they most closely identify.

The proposal had created a backlash with many religious groups and others who said it put children in danger.

The council is expected to vote on the proposed ordinance Wednesday. It’s similar to a disputed one that passed last year in San Antonio.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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