Houston judge rejects challenge to equal rights law

By John Mack Freeman

A judge ruled this past Friday that opponents to Houston’s equal rights ordinance (referred to as HERO) did not have a sufficient number of signatures to place the issue on the ballot this November. The focus of the trial was on whether the city had properly invalidated pages of petitions that were filled out incorrectly. Of the 17,000 signatures needed to force the issue on the ballot, the judge ruled only 16,684 of the turned in signatures were valid, leaving those opposed to the ordinance 316 short. Mayor Parker tweeted this shortly after the ruling:

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Via Click2Houston:

“(As) a matter of fact and as a matter of law the Referendum Petition is not valid or enforceable in all respects,” the judge ruled.

“I would hope that the plaintiffs would not appeal, they lost during a jury trial and today they also lost with the judge’s ruling. Now all Houstonians have access to the same protections,” said Parker.

Houston City Attorney Donna Edmundson said, “This is a great victory in the courts, and a great day for civil rights in Houston, Texas. The jury found for the City, and now the judge has found in favor of the City too. I am gratified that the judge signed a final judgment rejecting the plaintiffs’ claims and confirming that their pro-discrimination referendum petition failed. We will be prepared if the plaintiffs decide to appeal.”


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