Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has rescinded his donation to an organization fighting against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.
I recently made a personal contribution to Campaign for Houston because my thorough review of the HERO ordinance led me to believe that a thoughtful rewrite would provide a better ordinance that would provide strong non-discrimination protections for all Houstonians, which I would support, and would be less divisive of our city.
It was on these principles that I made my personal contribution to Campaign for Houston. To my great dismay, Campaign for Houston made numerous unauthorized statements about my opposition to HERO in print, broadcast and social media – including attributing certain statements of belief to me. Their actions and statements were never discussed with nor approved by me. Therefore I instructed the Campaign to return my contribution.
I do not believe in or tolerate personal or professional discrimination of any kind. I also believe that we Houstonians should have an ordinance that unites our community and provides a bold statement of non-discrimination. I encourage all Houstonians to vote on November 3.
We must give credit where credit is due.
While McNair’s statement is not a ringing endorsement of Proposition 1—after all, he merely encourages Houstonians to vote, and his preference for a “thoughtful rewrite” of the ordinance suggests he may not support it himself—he displays leadership by taking action and calling out the disingenuous behavior of the ordinance’s opponents.
I wonder, though, whether someone voting against this ordinance would quote one of our country’s greatest champions for equality, as McNair does to close his statement:
Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work together to change a small portion of events, and in the total of those acts will be written the history of our generation.”
Many have pointed out that McNair is basing his opposition on the same cop-out that wrigglers like mayoral candidate Bill King has cited in his opposition to the ordinance, claiming it could have been drafted better. It is hard to see, however, how you can get much more elegant and clear than the ordinance:
WHEREAS, the City of Houston seeks to provide an environment that is free of any type of discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy…
If comments on my Facebook page are any indication (and let’s face it, I’ve got brilliant, insightful friends), most people believe this was done in response to pressure from the NFL, who don’t want to have to put back-up plans for Super Bowl LI into action.
And, of course, if we’re giving credit where credit is due, we might also tip our 10-gallon hats to former Minnesota Viking and prose-poet for the modern age, Chris Kluwe, whose pro-HERO and anti-McNair screed gave us a phrase that will live in infamy: pants-on-head, cowhumping glue-huffer.
Let’s face it. Nobody wants to be a pants-on-head, cowhumping glue-huffer.
Texas Monthly author Mimi Schwartz summarized perfectly the forces at play in this election: Houston past and Houston future. From this statement, it does seem that McNair intends to be part of Houston future.
Let us hope all in the business and sports community follow his lead, and join the rest of Houston future in voting YES on Proposition 1.
[We would be remiss if we did not point out that McNair has not rescinded any of the millions he’s donated to reactionary politicians … maybe Kluwe can write a follow-up about that?]