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Houston City Council Votes To Pass LGBT-Inclusive Equal Rights Ordinance

by: Omar Araiza

Thu May 29, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

Mayor Parker signing the equal rights ordinance into law
A major victory for the LGBT community and supporters of equality. Last night, Houston City Council members voted to approve Mayor Annise Parker's Equal Rights Ordinance.

The ordinance extends the city's ban on discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity, providing equal protection in employment and housing to all Houstonians.

"It is personal. It is not academic. It is my life that is being discussed," were Parker's powerful remarks on the proposed ordinance.

Responses to the news by Texas Democrats, including Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte, below the jump.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) passed by a final vote of 11 to 6. For nearly 9 hours, over 200 Houstonians stood before the council to discuss the measure, the overwhelming majority of them speaking in favor of equality.

"While much of the debate has centered around the gay and transgender section of the ordinance, it is a comprehensive ordinance," said Parker following the final vote. "It is a good step forward for the city of Houston."

Sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status, were part of the comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance. Houston was the last major city in America to lack this kind of ordinance.

Texas state Senators Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte went on Twitter to show their support for the City of Houston:

Both Van de Putte and Davis are strong supporters of a state-wide non-discrimination law that protects the LGBT community from employment and housing discrimination. The two worked on a bill last session aimed to provide these protections. While the bill received a hearing, their efforts were left pending in committee by Republicans.

Members from Houston also voiced their support for equality:

The vast majority of Texans support prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Currently, there exists no federal law that protects those who are LGBT from employment discrimination.

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