Houston City Council to vote on equal rights

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HOUSTON (AP/KXAN) — The Houston City Council is to vote on a proposed ordinance to extend a city ban on discrimination to gay, lesbian and transgender citizens.

The ordinance to be voted on Wednesday is similar to one approved last year in San Antonio. That ordinance prompted a dispute between city officials and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. The Republican, who is seeking the governor’s office, predicted a lawsuit over religious freedoms but hasn’t the state will challenge that ordinance.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst released a statement on Wednesday to voice his opposition to the proposed Equal Rights Ordinance:

“I oppose the proposed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance because it manufactures a problem in order to pass a law most Texans do not support. This 31 page proposal is guaranteed to confuse business-owners and result in unintended consequences and costly litigation. Put this new law is clearly an attempt to expand the size and scope of government at the expense of the personal religious beliefs of millions of Texans.”

Opponents to the proposed ordinance say it would infringe on their religious liberties to speak out against what they called the gay, lesbian and transgender lifestyle. However, Mayor Annise Parker, who is openly gay, and other supporters say the measure would offer protections at the local level against all forms of discrimination.

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