HOUSTON, TX – A Texas judge temporarily halted an ordinance that would force Houston business owners to allow men to use the women’s restroom — and vice versa. It will be on hold until Aug. 15, pending a hearing on the matter.
City-council members passed the ordinance in May. Last month, a coalition of pastors and other concerned people submitted more than 50,000 petition signatures from Houstonians who want the ordinance to be repealed or placed on the ballot. Last week, the mayor and the city attorney threw out more than 30,000 of those.
Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values Action, said people should get to vote.
“We will vigorously defend the right of Houstonians to take a timely vote on this dangerous ordinance,” he said.
“The oppressive actions of Mayor Parker and City Attorney David Feldman to throw out at least 30,000 petition signatures — and then delay and distract in court — only shows the desperate lengths they will go to prevent the people of Houston from having their say.”
On Aug. 1, just three days before Parker and Feldman made the claims, City Secretary Anna Russell confirmed that there were enough valid signatures.
In fact, her report found 17,846 validated signatures, after only looking through the first 19,177 petition signatures.
This number — 17,846 — would meet the requirement to place the ordinance on the November ballot.
According to the NoUnequalRight.com campaign, which spearheaded the signature drive, the ordinance would place women and children in danger in business restrooms and community-pool changing rooms and locker rooms.
“This is about more than those who are dealing with gender identity issues,” the group of pastors wrote on the campaign website.
“This is about making it easier for a predator to gain access to a place where women and children should have every protection possible, not more exposure, because that predator can use a city ordinance to his advantage.”
The ordinance would also force businesses to celebrate same-sex ceremonies.
Saenz said it’s clear Parker and gay activists want to use “Washington-style executive power.”
They want to “shut the people of Houston out of this process and force residents to accept this highly divisive new law against their will. Houstonians should be the ones to decide this issue, and we will fight for their right to do so.”