The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) got its final approval on Friday, after a year of setbacks and a referendum petition calling for its dismantling. HERO, which originally passed way back in May 2014, bans discrimination in housing, employment and city contracts on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation and other factors.
Opponents tried to scare voters into believing transgender people would assault them in public bathrooms, but the anti-HERO petition did not have enough valid signatures to move forward.
“[A]s a matter of fact and as a matter of law … the Referendum Petition is not valid or enforceable in all respects,” declared Judge Robert Schaffer.
Several months ago, a jury found that a number of the signatures all had the same handwriting, while others had not been collected properly or were for individuals who did not actually exist.
“Now all Houstonians have access to the same protections,” Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement.
h/t Think Progress