Today the City of Houston announced that the petitions that opponents of the Houston Equal Right Ordinance have been circulating since June 3rd, do not meet the legal requirements laid forth in the City's charter to force a repeal referendum on the ballot.
A tremendous volunteer effort by supporters of HERO took on the task of conducting an independent analysis and verification of the submitted petitions. Over 100 volunteers gave their time, energy and effort pouring over more than 5000 pages and 30,000 signatures. The independent analysis came to the same conclusion that was drawn by the City of Houston - petition circulators did not do their due diligence in the signature gathering process to meet all legal requirements.
Opponents of HERO have already pledged to challenge the decision in court, in addition to spinning a variety of conspiracy theories claiming that their petitions were not fairly judged by the city.
If the opposition had spent a fraction of their time verifying that their petitions were legally compliant, rather than blatantly spreading false information regarding what HERO actually does, City of Houston taxpayers would not be forced to fit the bill to fight them in court.
On the flip side, had the situation been reversed and supporters attempted to pass HERO via petitions that did not meet with basic legal requirements, the same opposition leaders would trumpet election law as a defense not to certify a petition.
Election laws exist for reason. Some reign in voter fraud, some make sure that decisions regarding how a city operates are made by people who actually reside in that city.
Today's decision on HERO reaffirms that Houston is not a city that discriminates, and Houstonians have proven that they are ready to defend equal rights in the council chamber, in the courthouse and at the ballot box.