Houston Mayor Annise Parker on Tuesday
lamented defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), putting
the blame squarely on a “campaign of fear mongering and deliberate
While HERO prohibits discrimination in
housing, employment and public accommodations based on more than a
dozen characteristics including race, religion, sexual orientation
and gender identity, opponents who forced it onto Tuesday's ballot
kept to a misleading message: The law would give sexual predators
pretending to be women access to women's restrooms.
Roughly 60 percent of Houston voters
voted against HERO.
“This was a campaign of fear
mongering and deliberate lies. Deliberate lies,” Parker told
supporters on Tuesday. “This isn't misinformation, this is a
calculated campaign of lies designed to demonize a little understood
minority, and to use that to take down an ordinance that 200 other
cities across America, and 17 states have successfully passed and
“They just kept spewing an ugly wad
of lies from our TV screens and from pulpits. This was a calculated
campaign by a very small but determined group of right-wing
ideologues and the religious right. And they know only how to
destroy, not how to build up,” she added.
Parker, who is barred from seeking a
fourth term, and her administration strongly backed HERO. Voters
will decide on a new mayor next month.