Voters reject Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

Mayor Parker speaks on HERO defeat.

HOUSTON – Voters have said a resounding no to Houston's controversial equal rights ordinance.

Prop 1, nicknamed HERO, failed by a margin of 62-percent to 38-percent.

Opponents of the issue branded it "the bathroom ordinance," playing up the argument that it would allow sexual predators dressed as women to use women's restrooms. A television ad featured a little girl being cornered by a man in a restroom.

"This was a campaign of fear-mongering and deliberate lies," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said. "No one's rights should be subject to a popular vote."

Supporters sold it as an anti-discrimination measure protecting a broad range of citizens from the elderly to veterans. The ordinance would have offered increased protections for gay and transgender people, as well as protections against discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion and other categories.

"This will have stained Houston's reputation as a tolerant, welcoming global city," Mayor Parker said. "I absolutely fear there will be a direct economic backlash."

Supporters of the ordinance included President Obama, Hillary Clinton and several entertainers, including actress Sally Field who came to Houston last week to speak on behalf of Prop 1.

"The supporters of this proposition brought in movie stars and elites from Washington D.C. and Hollywood to try to force their twisted agenda on the good people of Texas," said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. "It didn't work and advocates of this ridiculous proposal are on notice tonight that the voters of Houston will not stand for this kind of liberal nonsense."

Among the most outspoken opponents was former Astros Lance Berkman who was featured in an anti-HERO ad.

Analysts said Prop 1 was the main catalyst behind higher voter turnout, which was double the last three local elections.

Election Results: Click here for complete list of results


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