Bob McNair donated $10,000 this week to opponents of the city’s embattled equal rights ordinance, entering the political fray over the law headed to voters in November.
Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), aka Proposition 1, was floated as a long-overdue ban on discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. As in many other states, passing and enforcing anti-discrimination laws in Texas is a task that’s left up to cities and counties. Houston, as it stands, is the largest city in the U.S. without such protections.
Campaign for Houston is named after an anti-gay city council ticket from the 80’s, called “Campaign for Houston Straight Slate,” led by mayoral candidate Louie Welch, who once said that the cure for AIDS was to “shoot the queers.” (Welch had $70,000 donated to his campaign almost immediately after saying so.)
The current manifestation of homophobia, Campaign for Houston, has seemingly isolated one element of the anti-discrimination proposition, and zeroed in on it. The part of the proposition that they take issue with is it would allow people who identify as women to enter women’s bathrooms, and the Campaign for Houston has used this as a launching pad for fear-mongering videos of presumed pedophiles following little girls into the restroom under ominous circumstances. Former Astros star Lance Berkman recorded a radio ad in support of this campaign which, among other things, refers to transgender women as “troubled men.”
Houston’s mayor Annise Parker has warned that repealing the law could impact the city’s economy and might even go so far as to jeopardize the 2017 Super Bowl, which the city is slated to host. McNair doesn’t appear to be worried about that.