About Magazine 2015 October 23, 2015 - Page 19

n's hts nce rom by ans and aw. e HOUSTON EQUAL RIGHTS ORDINANCE Facts ensures that a broad range of hardworking Houstonians – regardless of race, age, gender, orientation, pregnancy, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or military status – has the opportunity to earn a living, take care of their families, have housing, and be served by businesses and government, without fear of discrimination. Discrimination against any Houstonian creates an unequal playing field. The Equal Rights Ordinance levels that playing field by protecting people from discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces like restaurants. It’s surprising to think that before this ordinance was passed, it was legal in Houston to discriminate against people who are gay or transgender – but it’s true. This ordinance also strengthens protections for everyone else. In fact, 56 percent of the complaints filed in Houston while the equal rights ordinance was on the books were related to racial discrimination,  with another 17 percent based on gender or pregnancy discrimination (City of Houston’s Inspector General, 2015) Houston is a major hub for business in the United States. The Greater Houston Partnership backs Proposition 1 because a “welcoming, diverse and inclusive” community is a key to “the continued success of the region’s economy.” And many Fortune 500 companies and small businesses in Texas – as well as the Houston Super Bowl Committee – have gone on record thi