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Opponents of the Plano nondiscrimination ordinance say they have gained enough signatures to force a referendum.

Anti-gay forces opposing the equal rights ordinance passed last month by the Plano City Council are claiming they have collected enough signatures and met the deadline to force the council to put the ordinance on the ballot for a referendum.

Representatives of Plano Citizens United — basically a front for The Liberty Institute, Prestonwood Baptist Church and other bastions of bigotry — said they have collected about 7,000 signatures, many more than the 3,822 they needed to have collected by today to force a referendum.

“We are certain that once Plano citizens realize the City Council has criminalized religious views about sex and gender, the ordinance will be rejected overwhelmingly at the polls. The citizens of Plano are good and decent and treat one another with respect, so criminalizing the beliefs of our diverse communities of faith does not advance the common good,” said an unnamed spokesperson for the group in a statement.

Plano City Secretary Lisa Henderson today told Dallas Morning News she has received the petitions and now has to verify that at least 3,822 of the signatures are valid. It was that part — actually having enough valid signatures — that proved to be a roadblock for the group of similar (maybe the same?) bigots at the US Pastors Council who tried to get Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance repealed last year. Plano Citizens United didn’t even name their spokesperson in a statement, raising eyebrows about the group’s local roots.

They aren’t the only outside group opposing the ordinance on discriminatory grounds. Texas Values Action, an Austin-based group that has waged similar fights over local ordinances across Texas also chimed in.

“The people of Plano have made their voice loud and clear – it is time to repeal this anti-religious freedom ordinance. These LGBT special rights ordinances are designed to be used as weapons against people of sincere faith, as we have seen in Houston. The people of Plano, just like in Houston, are ready to put an end to government hostility towards our First Freedom,” said the group’s leader Jonathan Saenz.

But the religious right aren’t the only opponents of the ordinance. Local transgender activists raised alarms that the ordinance fails to protect transgender people and contains confusing language. Look for a story in this week’s Dallas Voice.