gender neutralProposed anti-discrimination ordinance requires bathrooms to be open to any ‘gender identity’

Big hitters are lining up on both sides of a Houston ballot initiative that would take anti-discrimination ordinances to a new extreme.

If passed in November, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or “HERO,” would expand anti-discrimination laws, requiring private businesses also not discriminate based on sexual orientation, familial status, marital status, or gender identity.
It’s the “gender identity” part that’s causing the most controversy.  If passed, businesses could not bar male employees from using the female restroom or female locker rooms, so long as the male employee claims it’s his gender identity.

Violating the ordinance, such as by banning men from being in the women’s restroom or locker room shower, is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a $5,000 fine.

Big names have come out both for and against the ordinance.

“Lance Berkman, who slugged 366 home runs for the Astros, Rangers, Cardinals and Yankees during a 15-year career, filmed a commercial for a political action committee working to defeat the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance when it comes up for a vote on Nov. 3,” Fox News reports.

“I played professional baseball for 15 years, but my family is more important. My wife and I have four daughters. Proposition 1 would allow troubled men who claim to be women to enter women’s bathrooms, showers and locker rooms,” says Berkman in the ad.

“It’s better to prevent this danger by closing women’s restrooms to men, rather than waiting for a crime to happen. Join me to stop the violation of privacy and discrimination against women. Vote ‘No’ on Proposition 1. No men in women’s bathrooms. No boys in girls’ showers or locker rooms.”

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has donated $10,000 to a group opposing the ordinance.

Mayor Annise Parker, Houston’s first lesbian mayor, is pushing the ordinance.

The measure was originally passed by the city council, but a legal challenge ruled the council did not have the authority to implement the change as written.

The ruling required voters pass such an amendment to city ordinance.

The case drew national attention when Parker issued subpoenas to local pastors challenging her law, demanding they divulge the content of their private prayers and sermons.

Critics claim the ordinance is a violation of the First Amendment, which guarantees Americans the freedom to associate with whomever they want.  They claim the ordinance violates religious liberty and interferes with their ability to regulate employee behavior.