Ballot wording for Houston gay rights ordinance rejected

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Supporters of the non-discrimination ordinance, nick-named HERO, dressed in red and joined opponents in the gallery of Houston's city council

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The Texas Supreme Court says voters in Houston must decide whether they want an equal right ordinance in their city - and not whether the existing one should be repealed.

The ruling Wednesday over ballot wording for a November referendum was another stumble for Mayor Annise Parker and efforts to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the nation's fourth-largest city.

Parker issued the following statement this afternoon:

The Houston City Council last year adopted a nondiscrimination ordinance. It aims to protect gay and transgender people against discrimination in employment and public places.

But the Texas Supreme Court ruled last month that conservative activists should have succeeded in a petition drive to put the issue before voters. The court now says the ballot language must ask voters whether Houston should have a nondiscrimination ordinance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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