The trial regarding HERO is set for Monday, January 19th but we are already seeing rumblings regarding the case.
First, opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance are now demanding a jury trial as opposed to a determination by the district judge. They have a very specific strategy behind this request. The City of Houston charter determines that this type of issue is settled by a district judge, so by asking for a trial by jury the opponents knew that the city would object.
As one Conservative blog put it, "Uh-oh: Lesbian mayor back to her old tricks".
Their strategy is to play the victim, claiming that the Administration is refusing to allow the people to have a voice in the debate on HERO. It should be noted that HERO, like many other pieces of city legislation, went through a lengthy public discussion before it was passed by City Council. In those discussions 84% of the people who testified were in favor of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.
The people had a say, and they said that nondiscrimination is a Houston value.
Now though we are starting to see the opposition's case unravel. We have included a publicly available document from the Harris County District Clerk's website with regards to the upcoming trial. These are excerpts of a deposition from an individual who gathered signatures for the opposition's petition efforts.
In short, he admits under oath, that he perjured himself by attesting that the signatures he turned in were all collected by him when, in fact, they were not.
As we have seen since the first public discussions about the ordinance, opponents have been willing to use dishonest tactics to achieve their end goal of eliminating the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.
We will post another interesting court document this week that continues the trend of rooting out the rampant forgery in the petition process.
Make no mistake, the opponents of HERO are not victims, they are calculating fear-mongers with little regard for ethics or the law.