By featuring prominent Houston pastors and their wives, supporters are providing a direct challenge to opponents’ claims the ordinance violates their religious liberty.
Pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus, along with the Rev. Brandon Peete and his family, appear in the ad released by Houston Unites. They cite their faith as the reason for supporting the ballot proposition, which 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 and marital or military status.
“As Christians, we believe in treating others as we want to be treated,” says Rev. Rasmus in the ad. “We’re voting yes on proposition one, so everyone can provide for their families, without fear of discrimination.”
Rev. Peete makes clear the Equal Rights Ordinance is “a local tool that makes sure folks in our churches, and all Houstonians, no matter their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or military status, can earn a living, have a place to live and be served by a business.”
HERO applies to businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting. Religious institutions would be exempt.
Violators would be fined up to $5,000.
Since it passed 12-5 on city council last year, HERO has been mired in legal battles ignited by Dave Welch of the U.S. Pastors Council and other conservative Christian leaders., who argue that the LGBT protections in the ordinance violate their religious freedoms.
Last month opponents ran their first radio ad targeting the ordinance’s gender identity protections.
The full video of HRC’s pro-HERO ad is below: