The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is expected to pass Wednesday evening.
Through the afternoon, the Houston City Council has been hearing public comments. Among the speakers was Rafael McDonnell from Resource Center, who said friends who are Houston activists asked him to attend. He told council members that in the 10 years since the Dallas ordinance passed, 53 complaints have been filed and all were settled or dismissed.
“Not one complaint went to adjudication,” he said.
He said the ordinance was designed to be a “golden rule.”
“If you know better, you do better,” he said. “It’s not designed to be punitive.”
Because the opposition came from churches, religious leaders who favor the ordinance spoke.
Gay Houston City Councilman Mike Laster’s pastor, Steve Wells, of South Main Baptist Church was among the speakers. Another speaker in favor was from the National Council on Jewish Women.
Former councilwoman Jolanda Jones said she often disagreed with Houston Mayor Annise Parker but completely agreed with her on this issue. She said that voting against the ordinance because of the LGBT issue would be like “throwing out the baby with the bath water.” Refusing to vote for equality for the LGBT community would also deny equality based on race, religion and a list of other characteristics.
A mother spoke about her transgender son and addressed the accusations that have been thrown at the trans community during debate on the ordinance.
“My son is not confused,” she said. “My son is not a predator. My son is a good student and a good person.”
Several speakers said they opposed the amendment and called it words like “unjust” without explaining what ways an equality ordinance was unfair.