Now that anti-HERO activists have filed a lawsuit against the City of Houston regarding the rejection of their petitions to force a ballot referendum on the Equal Rights Ordinance, we are in a waiting game to see what the court is going to do.
Earlier this week video surfaced of Pastor Dave Welch conducting a training among members of his organization discussing the signature collection process laid out by the city in order to place HERO on the ballot for a public vote. The video was likely designed to be an instructional resource they could send out to those who were interested in collecting signatures for their effort.
What it reveals, however, is that Mr. Welch (one of the ring leaders of the anti-HERO activists) was very familiar with the possibility that entire pages of their petitions could potentially be invalidated if the individuals gathering the signatures were not valid City of Houston voters.
He goes into great detail emphasizing the importance of making sure they conduct their process properly, otherwise they risk losing entire pages of potentially valid signatures (which ultimately, is why their petition was invalidated).
Our friends at Equality Texas highlighted that portion of the original 13 minute video here.
Today anti-HERO activists, including Mr. Welch, held a lightly attended press conference outside of City Hall where their messaging was focused on the idea that the City of Houston is not allowing the people to vote on HERO.
Pastor Steve Riggle even used the word "conspiracy" with regards to their petition pages being invalidated.
We try to present factual information on HOUequality, so here you go.
The City of Houston is not preventing a vote on HERO.
In fact, a very clear process was laid out on how to make a public vote possible - the opposition merely failed to meet the criteria as required by law. Had their petitions been accepted, it is likely HERO would be on the ballot in November of 2015 (as would be required by the City Charter).
When people who do not get what they want start using words like "conspiracy" it cheapens the public discourse on our political process.
Not getting what you want because you didn't follow the rules or meet legal requirements is not conspiracy - it is incompetence.
If supporters of HERO had pressed for a ballot initiative to create HERO (rather than there being a Council vote) and had failed to meet the minimum criteria to make that happen, we seriously doubt that Mr. Welch or Riggle would be arguing that the voice the people was being stifled by a government conspiracy.
The next court date regarding HERO is set for August 15th.