HOUSTON (AP) — The landslide defeat of a nondiscrimination ordinance in Houston has stunned LGBT-rights activists across the nation. They're now bracing for their opponents in other states to seize on the successful tactic of stoking fears over transgender people's access to public restrooms.
By a 61-to-39-percent margin, voters in America's fourth largest city on Tuesday rejected a broad equal-rights ordinance — extending protections in employment, housing and public spaces on the basis of race, sexual orientation, gender identity and other categories. Opponents prevailed with a campaign that dubbed the measure "the bathroom ordinance" and raised the specter of male sexual predators invading women's restrooms.
The outcome was "a devastating blow to equality," said the Human Rights Campaign, a national group advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.