HOUSTON -- Boosters of big sporting events in Houston are nervous about the fight over the equal rights ordinance.
Opponents of the ordinance have succeeded in putting the issue on the November ballot. Now, some HERO supporters are calling upon the NFL to move the 2017 Super Bowl out of Houston if the ordinance is repealed. The online petition was launched by a blogger and it has dozens of signatures.
"Well, I think if Houston is ever perceived as an intolerant, bigoted place, it will greatly diminish our opportunities to bring sporting events to town," admitted Sports Authority Chairman J. Kent Friedman.
Houston's Super Bowl Committee had no comment.
The NFL reportedly considered moving a Super Bowl out of Arizona over legislation that would've offered legal protections to businesses that discriminated against gays. That never happened, because the governor vetoed the bill.
HERO opponents say it'll never happen here either.
"That's simply a red herring. That's simply what they tried to do in Indiana and Arkansas and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act," said ordinance opponent Jared Woodfill. "It basically shows that they are going to do anything and everything they can to skew the issue."
"I think it's a real threat," said KHOU 11 Political Analyst Bob Stein. "Now, how it plays with the voters is very interesting. It could conceivably become one in which voters have a backlash against it, see it as a – how can I say this? -- A threat."
Houston voters will go to the polls in a little less than three months, but it's already game on for the equal rights ordinance.