A Texas LGBT group has published on the Internet the personal details of Texans who signed a petition against a recent LGBT anti-discrimination bill.
A group under the website HeroPetition.com, named after the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), published the 50,000 names and addresses of Texans who want to overturn an anti-discrimination ordinance via public vote in November elections.
On their website, the group claims some voters have been conned into signing against the ordinance and encourages citizens to review all the signed pages of the petitions to watch for voter fraud.
‘There is documented evidence of deliberate voter fraud that may actually put petition signers at risk of criminal prosecution, including video of a petition gatherer telling people they could register to vote and immediately sign the petition – a direct violation of Texas Election Law.’
The Houston Equality Rights Ordinance, which ‘prohibits discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics in city employment, city services, city contracting services, housing, public accommodations and private employment,’ passed an 11-6 city council vote in May.
But religious groups claim the ordinance compromises their constitutional freedoms, and have led a charge to have the ordinance overturned or handed to the voters to decide.
For the ordinance to make the ballot in November, a minimum of 17,269 signatures must be verified. Opponents of the ordinance submitted over 50,000 signatures across 5,247 pages of petitions to the city council.
Religious conservatives consider the ordinance a threat to religious freedom, freedom of speech and the private sector.
Pastor Max Miller of the Baptist Ministers Association of Houston and Vicinity said in a statement: ‘It has been shown and demonstrated that the people of the city do not want this ordinance.
‘We simply say: Allow people to vote on this ordinance.’
David Walls, who wrote a guest blog post for the website Texas Values, said the ordinance:
- forces employers and a private business owner to violate their religious and moral convictions.
- falsely equates race with sexual conduct
- Allows men to access women’s bathrooms, shower rooms and locker rooms
- increases government interference in the private sector
- is declared a ‘public emergency’ while providing no evidence of any systemic discriminatio
Houston’s lesbian mayor Annise Parker, who was instrumental in helping the ordinance pass earlier this year, vowed to fight opponents who want to overturn the ordinance.
She said: ‘This was not a narrowly-focused, special-interest ordinance. This is something that the business and civic community of Houston was firmly behind, and we fully expect if there is a campaign that it will be a spirited campaign, but we’ll have the same outcome in November as we had around the council table.
‘Houston does not discriminate, Houston will not discriminate and Houston will not be fooled by misinformation, hyperbole – I would use the word "lies" but I’m going to back off from that – and people who are just simply unwilling to read the ordinance for themselves.’