HOUSTON - A new slugger joined the campaign against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) while a group of Houston clergy urged a yes vote as an extension of the Christian golden rule.
"As Christians we believe in treating others as we want to be treated," Pastor Rudy Rasmus says in a new television ad produced by the group Houston Unites. The ad, featuring Rasmus, his wife Juanita and Rev. Brandon Peete and Hillary Peete, will air on Houston televisions stations over the next three weeks in advance of the November 3rd vote.
"What you see before you is a diverse faith coalition from across this city," said Rev. Michael Diaz at a Thursday news conference announcing the Houston Unites "Yes on Prop 1" campaign.
"We are all God's children, we should all be protected from discrimination. And the equal rights ordinance, Proposition 1, helps us move in that direction," Diaz said.
But the opposition to HERO brought former Houston Astro slugger Lance Berkman to the plate, or at least to the microphone in a series of radio ads.
"I'm Lance Berkman. I played professional baseball for 15 years but my family is more important," the former Astro says in the 1-minute ad from Campaign for Houston PAC.
"Proposition 1, the bathroom ordinance, would allow troubled men to enter women's public bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms," Berkman says referring to his concern as a dad of four daughters.
"In reality it discriminates against people who believe, like me, that members of the opposite sex should not be forced to share restrooms or locker rooms," Berkman says.
"He is a husband and he understands that if Proposition 1 passes, it could compromise the safety of his wife and his daughters," said Jared Woodfill with Campaign for Houston PAC. "It's great when you have someone of his quality, someone who is a superstar, someone who is a role model for kids, stand up and say, 'vote no' on this very important issue."
A large group of conservative pastors, which fought Mayor Annise Parker through the court system to get the proposition on the ballot in the first place, remain opposed to the Houston Equal rights ordinance, for the so-called bathroom provision and for a perceived encroachment on religious liberty.
"If we're not careful we will criminalize Christianity," Rev. Blaine Kemendo said in previous comments in his opposition to HERO.
Both sides are promising additional media blitzes and campaign efforts in the final weeks leading up to the November 3rd vote.
The ballot measure reads as follows:
Are you in favor of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, Ord. No. 2014-530, which prohibits discrimination in city employment and city services, city contracts, public accommodations, private employment, and housing based on an individual's sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy?