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Did the White House just tell Houston to vote in favor of HERO?

Did the White House just tell Houston to vote in favor of HERO?

A White House spokeperson says the President is confident people to vote for equality in Houston

The White House appears to have thrown its support behind the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which is due to face a public vote on Tuesday (3 November).

Houston is the largest city in the US not to offer anti-gay discrimination protections, but HERO goes beyond offering workplace and employment protections just to LGBT people. The legislation will give discrimination protection to individuals regardless of race, gender, veteran status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or pregnancy.

Houston City Council originally passed HERO in 2014, but opponents to the legislation were able to amass a sufficient number of signatures to prompt the Texas Supreme Court to ask the City Council to either repeal it or put it to pubic ballot.

It is unusual for the White House to take an official stand for or against local legislation proposals, and in a carefully worded statement to Buzzfeed, White House spokesperson Jeff Tiller said: ‘the president and vice president have been strong supporters of state and local efforts to protect Americans from being discriminated against based on who they are and who they love.

‘We’re confident that the citizens of Houston will vote in favor of fairness and equality.’

Early voting on HERO has already commenced, and an increasing number of people both for and against the legislation have been making their voices heard. Polls suggest that a clear vote for or against is hard to call, as many people continue to say they are undecided.

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton also voiced her support for the ordinance, along with celebrities such as Matt Bomer, who heralds from Houston.

Campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote has been led by the organization Houston Unites and Houston’s gay mayor, Anise Parker.

Among those campaigning for a ‘no’ vote is Campaign for Houston, which recently revealed a controversial campaign TV advert.

Rather than highlighting workplace and housing protections included in the ordinance, it focuses on the fact that the legislation will allow transgender people to use restrooms in fitting with their gender. It warns that the ‘bathroom ordinance’ will potentially allow ‘men’ to enter women’s restrooms.

A report this week revealed that just 51% of people in the US currently live in cities, counties or states that offer anti-LGBT workplace discrimination protections.