Opponents of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance aired their first radio ad yesterday, the first of what they promise to be a barrage of ads ahead of the Nov. 3 ballot referendum that will decide the ordinance’s fate.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the Campaign for Houston‘s one-minute ad features a young woman concerned for her safety. She wants to get pregnant, she says, but is afraid because the ordinance “will allow men to freely go into women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers.
“That is filthy, that is disgusting and that is unsafe,” she states.
The nondiscrimination ordinance, which passed city council last year and has been mired in legal battles initiated by opponents since, includes protections for LGBT people, as well as other federally protected classes including sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, family, marital or military status. Violators could be fined up to $5,000.
Opponents, including conservative Christian leaders, immediately gathered signatures for a ballot referendum. The city ultimately threw the petitions out, but opponents scored a victory earlier this month when the Texas Supreme Court forced the council to either repeal the ordinance or put it before voters on the Nov. 3 ballot.
City council members voted to put it before the voters on 12-5 vote.
Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Houston Unites, which supports the ordinance, blasted the ad in a statement.
“The ad is grossly inaccurate. Nothing in the equal rights ordinance changes the fact that it is — and always will be — illegal to enter a restroom to harm or harass other people. The ad leaves out the fact that the law protects tens of thousands of Houstonians from job discrimination based upon their race, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability,” he said.
Houston Unites also plans to also broadcast media in support of the ordinance. But the campaign has not made any media buys yet, he told the Chronicle.