Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mayor Parker Responds to Texas Supreme Court Ruling that the Ballot Language for the HERO Ordinance Must Be Changed

Aubrey R. Taylor Shares a Statement from Mayor Annise Parker related to the Texas Supreme Court Ruling that the proposition language related to the HERO Ordinance must be re-written; All Houstonians Should Take a Moment to Read The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance Before Going to the Polls to Vote in the Tuesday, November 3, 2015 Special Election says Aubrey R. Taylor -- Specifically "Page 2" of "Exhibit A" Which Defines the Meaning of "Gender Identity"

AUBREY R. TAYLOR: "According to Mayor Annise Parker she strongly disagrees with the Texas Supreme Court ruling on the HERO Ordinance. However, she's confident that Houstonians will vote to keep the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance when they go to the polls in November."


Mayor Parker Releases Statement On Texas Supreme Court HERO Ruling

August 19, 2015 -- Despite the continued backdoor legal maneuvers and manipulation by a small group that is out of touch, I am confident that Houstonians will vote to keep the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance in November. We are a city that believes everyone deserves to be treated equally no matter his or her race, age, gender, physical limitations, sexual orientation or gender identity. Discrimination simply isn’t a Houston value.

With all due respect to the Texas Supreme Court, it is clear that politics is driving the law in this case.  We will rewrite the ballot language, but I strongly disagree with the decision and find it to be contrary to the court’s established law regarding previous ballot initiatives.


The thoughts contained in the statement above are those of Mayor Annise Parker and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Aubrey R. Taylor Communications, Houston Business Connections Newspaper, or its advertisers, readers, sponsors, associates, friends, sponsors, or supporters. 


Texas Supreme Court Holds Mayor Parker Accountable Again: Mayor's Deceptive Ballot Language Ruled Illegal By The Texas Supreme Court!

By Jared Woodfill

During the past month we have had to take Mayor Parker all the way to the Texas Supreme Court twice to force her to follow the law. Today, the voters received their second victory from the Texas Supreme Court.

After spending a year fighting Mayor Parker for the right to vote on her personal, social agenda - HERO ordinance/Bathroom Ordinance, we thought the next step would be an election in November. Unfortunately, Mayor Parker was up to her same old tricks, proposing and passing ballot language that is deceitful, misleading and unlawful. Accordingly, we filed suit in the Texas Supreme Court, arguing that the ballot language is a direct and flagrant contravention of what the Houston City Charter requires.

Mayor Parker defiantly passed the following ballot language to be included in the ballot for the November 3, 2015 election: "Shall the City of Houston repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, Ord. No. 2014-530 which prohibits discrimination in city employment and city services, city contracts, public accommodations, private employment, and housing based on an individual's sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or pregnancy?" (italics added).

We argued that the format was legally wrong, as it perverts the clear mandate from the Charter and reverses or flips the impact of a vote in favor or a vote in disfavor of the suspended ordinance. More specifically, the Mayor Parker's current wording would require a voter who is in favor of the suspended ordinance to vote "No" or "Against" the proposition, while a voter who is not in favor of the suspended ordinance to vote "Yes" or "For" the suspended ordinance. That is a legal recipe for an electoral disaster. Voters will be confused, because someone who is against the proposition cannot vote against, and vice- versa.

For a second time in less than a month, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Mayor Parker broke the law and failed to follow the City Charter when drafting the ballot language for her "Bathroom Ordinance." Specifically, the Texas Supreme Court stated, "Because the Charter requires a majority vote "in favor" of the ordinance for it to take effect, the Relators (Woodfill and Williams) argue that the City Council must submit the ordinance such that voters may vote directly "in favor" of the ordinance or against it. Section 5 of the Charter clearly requires the vote to be on the ordinance itself rather than its repeal: The ballots used when voting upon such proposed and referred ordinances, resolutions or measures shall set forth their nature sufficiently to identify them, and shall also set forth upon separate lines the words "For the Ordinance" and "Against the Ordinance", or "For the Resolution" or "Against the Resolution." Id. art. VII-b, § 5. Admittedly, the Texas Election Code preempts part of this mandate, allowing only the choice between "FOR" and "AGAINST," or else "YES" and "NO," to appear on the ballot. TEX. 5 ELEC. CODE § 52.073(a), (e). Nonetheless, the mandate that the vote be on the ordinance itself remains. Here, the City Council determined that voters should choose between "Yes" and "No" regarding the repeal of the ordinance. The Charter, however, when read in conjunction with the Election Code, requires a choice of "Yes" or "No" (or "For" or "Against") as to the ordinance itself. Because the Charter clearly defines the City Council's obligation to submit the ordinance - rather than its repeal - to the voters and gives the City Council no discretion not to, we hold that this is a ministerial duty. In summary, the City Council has a ministerial duty to submit the ordinance to an affirmative vote by the people of Houston. The City Council is directed to word the proposition such that voters will vote directly for or against the ordinance."

We will continue to oppose Mayor Parker and her LGBT agenda to make sure Houstonians get a fair election! Please keep this case and election in your prayers. I will keep you posted on our progress.


The thoughts contained in the statement above are those of Jared Woodfill and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Aubrey R. Taylor Communications, Houston Business Connections Newspaper, or its advertisers, readers, sponsors, associates, friends, sponsors, or supporters. 

Are you confused on matters pertaining to the HERO Ordinance? Well, thanks to the recent Texas Supreme Court ruling things have become a lot more clearer. Now both sides in this matter will have their work cut out for them between now and the start of early voting which will be taking place from Monday, October 19, 2015 through Friday, October 30, 2015.


“What concerns many citizens of Houston as it relates to the HERO Ordinance isn't the part about discrimination. The most troubling part about the HERO Ordinance can be found on (PAGE 2) of "EXHIBIT A" where "GENDER IDENTITY" is defined as an individual’s innate identification, appearance, expression or behavior as either male or female, although the same may not correspond to the individual’s body or gender assigned at birth.


WIKIPEDIA: "Gender identity is one's personal experience of one's own gender. This is generally described as one's private sense of being a man or a woman, consisting primarily of the acceptance of membership into a category of people: male or female. All societies have a set of gender categories that can serve as the basis of the formation of a social identity in relation to other members of society. In most societies, there is a basic division between gender attributes assigned to males and females. In all societies, however, some individuals do not identify with some (or all) of the aspects of gender that are assigned to their biological sex."


ANALYSIS: “Traditionally a person’s expression of their gender has been a private matter. This is where I believe a majority of Houstonians are going to have a problem with the HERO Ordinance,” explains Taylor. “Many Houstonians strongly believe that Mayor Annise Parker and the City Council Members who “SUPPORT” this ordinance are giving people the right to get up in the morning and “SELF-DECLARE” who or what gender they are, and/or “EXPRESS” themselves to be on any given day,” explains Taylor.


“As it’s currently written, a very large group of Houstonians believe that the HERO Ordinance is indeed a “SAFETY CONCERN” and an “ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN” if it’s not “REPEALED” on Tuesday, November 3, 2015,” says Taylor.


“I don’t know what the voters of Houston are going to decide as it relates to the HERO Ordinance. However, I am very eager (personally) to see how those who are “FOR” and “AGAINST” the highly controversial ordinance are going to inform and educate Houston voters heading into Election Day.”


The opinions expressed by Aubrey R. Taylor, publisher of Houston Business Connections Newspaper in this report do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Aubrey R. Taylor Communications; or supporters, sponsors, advertisers, friends, associates, or anyone else associated directly or indirectly to Aubrey R. Taylor Communications.