Equal Rights &
The History, Pre-HERO
for 2001 history
click for the new
19, 1984. Two non-discrimination ordinances (introduced by Councilmember
Anthony Hall) were passed by City Council.
January 1985. Referendum was held on the ordinances,
and the anti-gay forces defeated them by a 4 to 1 margin.
November 1985. Empowered by their win the "Straight Slate"
is formed with an anti-gay platform, and is only narrowly defeated in
the fall elections.
February 16, 1998. Newly elected Mayor Brown issues
executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation for
city employees. Two weeks later Straight Slate leader Richard Hotze
files lawsuit against the ordinance.
January 2001. Domestic partner benefits are considered by City Council
but the immediate backlash prompt Brown (and City Council member Annise
Parker) to present instead a non-discrimination ordinance for city employees,
passed on July 25. Long-time opponent Dave Wilson mounts referendum
effort for November, easily gaining enough signatures to place it on
November 6, 2001. The anti-gay forces won by 2
May 28, 2014. Mayor Parker and City Council passed
the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), starting the fight anew.
June 27, 2014, the ordinance took effect
July 2014, area pastors organized a petition drive, turning in 31,000
signatures...17,269 were required to get on the ballot.
Only 15,249 signatures were ruled valid, do the petition lost, and the
opposition filed a lawsuit
January 2015 saw a jury trial with the outcome verifying that the petition
The opponents then took the case to the (conservative) Texas Supreme
Court, which ignored the previous
results and ruled the ordinance should be on the ballot for November
won 63% to 37%, a crushing defeat
& 1985 Clippings - This Page
McIlvain in front left
Above two scans
courtesy of Brandon Wolf
1985 Houston City Councilmember George Greanias
(District C) recorded a PSA urging votes for the referendum.
This was aired on KPFT's show Wilde-N-Stein
below, from 11"x18"
images above courtesy of Brandon