Houston's First is joining with other churches, organizations, and individuals to collect signatures on a petition asking the City of Houston City Council to repeal in its entirety Ordinance No. 2014-530 — also known as the 'Equal Rights Ordinance.'
On May 28, 2014, the City Council approved the measure by a vote of 11-6 and the Mayor made it effective immediately with her signature. In addition to other provisions, the ordinance allows individuals to use public restrooms, locker rooms, showers, and similar facilities based on the gender which they identify themselves as — not the gender they were created by God.
While the specific language referring to access to restrooms was removed prior to the City Council's vote, legal analysts agree that the ordinance still allows for biological males to enter restrooms designated for female use. And, biological females may use those intended for male use.
The ordinance specifically lists "gender identity" as a "protected characteristic" along with sex, race, color, ethnicity, age, military status, disability, religion, and others.
Prior to the passing of the ordinance, Pastor Gregg shared his thoughts on the measure in his weekly First Thought message on May 9, 2014.
The goal of the petition is to secure 17,000 valid signatures by June 27. The petition calls for City Council to repeal the ordinance. If the necessary number of signatures are obtained, the ordinance would immediately be suspended. Then, if the City Council chooses not to repeal the ordinance, the measure would be placed on ballots for the public to vote upon this November.
In addition to praying for our city and our elected leaders, there are two ways that you can support this petition effort:
In order to sign or collect signatures, you must be registered to vote and eligible to vote for the Mayor of Houston.
Verifying Your Voter Registration
You can verify your voter registration status and information on the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector's website: http://www.hctax.net/Voter/Search
If you are not registered to vote or if you are registered to vote in a suburb or a municipality within Houston (such as Bellaire, West U, Memorial villages, etc.), then you are not eligible to participate in the petition.
Making the petition available for signing and equipping people to collect signatures are just two ways that Houston's First is involved in this effort. In addition, the church provides the following services:
If you have questions about the ordinance, the petition effort, or how you can help gather signatures, visit the petition organizers' website at NoUnequalRights.com. or call them at 832.688.9166.
If you have specific questions about Houston's First's role, contact Steven W. Murray, Director of Communications, at Steven.Murray@HoustonsFirst.org or 713.957.5890.