Elected officials in the city of Houston have recently been ordered to rethink their city ordinance that bans discrimination against LGBT employees. City residents, led mostly by conservative activists and religious figures, gathered a number of signatures on a petition to repeal the ordinance, but were told by officials that they did not have enough valid signatures. The people of Houston did not like this answer and responded by taking their claim to the high court, which recently ruled in their favor, stating that the “legislative power reserved to the people of Houston is not being honored.”
Republican officials have praised the decision and have already voiced their happiness. Governor Greg Abbott has said that the decision “appropriately returns jurisdiction over this matter to voters while reassuring the people of Houston that their personal values remain beyond the reach of the government.”
The Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, has now agreed to reconsider the ordinance along with the city council, but added that they would also be consulting legal counsel to see if there were any “possible actions” to be explored.
Mayor Parker stated after the Supreme Court ruling that “no matter the color of your skin, your age, gender, physical limitations, or sexual orientation, every Houstonian deserves the right to be treated equally.” She added that “to do otherwise, hurts Houston’s well-known image as a city that is tolerant, accepting, inclusive and embracing of its diversity.”
Cities like Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth have had ordinances protecting against LGBT discrimination for more than a decade, with Houston and San Antonio joining a couple years ago. Advocates for discrimination protections for LGBT people have tried for years to get a statewide law through but with little luck, resulting in a very patchy level of protection in certain regions and cities.
However, there is still a ruling made by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) that offers some protection against discrimination for the LGBT community. If you feel you have been wrongfully terminated or discriminated against for you sex or sexual orientation, then give me a call.
Atkerson Law- Dallas Employment Law Attorney