Latest: Voters reject Houston LGBT nondiscrimination measure

AP News
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Posted: Nov 03, 2015 10:08 PM

HOUSTON (AP) — The latest on voting on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (all times local):

9 p.m.

An ordinance that would have established nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people in Houston has failed to win approval from voters.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was rejected Tuesday after a nearly 18-month battle that spawned rallies, legal fights and accusations of both religious intolerance and demonization of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Supporters had said the ordinance would have offered increased protections for gay and transgender people, as well as protections against discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion and other categories.

Opponents focused their campaign on one part of the ordinance related to use of public bathrooms by transgender men and women that they alleged would open the door for sexual predators to go into women's restrooms.

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1:20 p.m.

Some Houston voters who rejected a proposal to grant nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people criticized the tactics of supporters.

Voters in the nation's fourth-largest city were deciding the issue Tuesday.

Susan Hunter said she doesn't know why anyone would think that men going into a women's bathroom, swimming pool or locker room would be a good idea. Hunter said it's not safe and people need to find another solution.

Another voter, Randal Hankla, rejected the measure, saying the tactics were being used to frighten people. Hankla says there's already an ordinance in place against discrimination, so why pile on another rule or law?

Jeff Jansen, who also voted against the proposal, said it was pushing a social agenda that he doesn't agree with.

The polls close at 7 p.m.

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10:30 a.m.

Some Houston residents who say they voted Tuesday in favor of a proposal to grant nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people raised employment issues.

Kade Smith says it's about time that all U.S. cities have an anti-discrimination policy. Smith says it's very easy for employers — especially in Texas, which is a right-to-work state — to fire someone for any reason.

A right-to-work state means a person cannot be denied employment because of membership or non-membership in a labor union or other labor group.

Another voter, Willy Golden, says he thinks some regulations are needed to help working people.

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12:05 a.m.

An ordinance that would establish nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people in Houston will now be in the hands of voters after a long battle involving legal fights and accusations of religious intolerance and demonization of the LGBT community.

Houston residents were to vote Tuesday on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

Supporters say it would not only offer increased protections for gay and transgender people, but would provide a wealth of protections against discrimination in various categories.

Opponents have focused their campaign on one part of the ordinance related to use of public bathrooms by transgender men and women that they allege would open the door for sexual predators to go into women's restrooms.

Tuesday's outcome is considered uncertain, with one political expert believing the measure could be defeated.