Metro Weekly

Hillary Clinton, Matt Bomer, Sally Field, White House throw support behind Houston’s HERO legislation

Houston's anti-discrimination measure HERO faces voters next week

Matt Bomer, Credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Matt Bomer, Credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

As Houston voters prepare to vote on whether the keep the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), Hillary Clinton has joined the White House and others in championing the pro-LGBT legislation.

Next week, voters will be asked whether to retain HERO, which protects against discrimination in housing, business services and employment based on factors including race, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity. It was passed by Houston’s council in 2014, but after a successful petition to remove the ordinance, its validity will be subject to a ballot measure on Tuesday, November 3.

Clinton took to Twitter to voice her support of HERO, stating: “No one should face discrimination for who they are or who they love — I support efforts for equality in Houston & beyond. #HERO #YesOnProp1 -H”

The White House has taken a less emphatic response to the ballot measure, indirectly supporting Houston’s efforts in protecting against discrimination in a statement to Towleroad.

“While the administration generally does not take a formal position on specific proposals or initiatives, the president and vice president have been strong supporters of state and local efforts to protect Americans from being discriminated against based on who they are and who they love,” said White House spokesman Jeff Tiller. “We’re confident that the citizens of Houston will vote in favor of fairness and equality.”

Meanwhile, celebrities are also endorsing HERO, with gay actor Matt Bomer issuing a statement through the Human Rights Campaign.

“The messages being broadcast across Houston attacking LGBT people in an attempt to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) go beyond misleading – they’re horrifying,” Bomer wrote in an email for the HRC. “These malicious ads, funded with a lot of money from anti-equality opponents, slander innocent people with slogans like “no men in women’s bathrooms” and imply transgender Houstonians want non-discrimination protections as a means to abuse children.”

Sally Field channeled her Academy Award-winning role as Norma Rae, holding up a sign in support for Prop 1 (the HERO ballot measure) while at an HRC event. Field has been a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, last year penning an open letter to her gay son, Sam, in which she said that being a part of his journey was “one of the great privileges of my life.”

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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