As most of you may know (if you have been keeping up with the news today), the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the Houston City Council must repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (H.E.R.O) or place it on the November ballot for the voters to decide within 30 days of today’s ruling.
This is just another blow to the legacy of Mayor Parker who has had two of her major platform issues (Rebuild Houston & H.E.R.O.) being reversed in the Texas Supreme Court because it was trying to mislead or suppress our liberty as Houstonians to vote with a full understanding of the issues.
When I announced my candidacy earlier this year, H.E.R.O. was still very fresh on many peoples' minds and several would ask me what my stance was on the issue. As a political outsider, I would say that I respected the judicial system, and felt that it was beyond my control as a candidate or even elected official until we knew the decision of the court. Regardless of the decision, I would uphold the law as it is written and fight to make sure that civil and religious liberties would never be compromised. I also wanted to take the time to do my due diligence during the exploratory phase of my campaign to understand the ordinance and history of its implementation before providing an opinion. For a very limited, but loud, few; that meant that I was in support of the ordinance - which was a complete fabrication of my stance on the issue and my support for equal rights.
I have now realized why people were asking me that question. They wanted to know what values I stand on. I have been consistent about what my values are: God, Family, and Community. As a Christian, I feel that we will all be equally judged by God for our life on earth, and as stated in the Bible, I am to love God, and love my neighbor. I am to run away from my own sin and other sin, but I am always supposed to share love to the sinner, since God is love. These values form the core principles of my campaign – to unite and strengthen our communities, build coalitions from the bottom up, and be responsible and accountable to the will of the people.
H.E.R.O. was a personal agenda pushed by a mayor that was abusing the legislative power of our strong mayor form of government and neglecting the major responsibilities of providing for the basic needs of Houstonians, like a sustainable budget, fixing the streets, infrastructure and addressing crime.
Because her focus was so far away from practical issues pertaining to the core role of government, we now have been put in a place where we have unsustainable pensions that take all the money from other departments to balance the budget. This has left us with horrible infrastructure that required an outside source of income (Rebuild Houston) to remedy a solution, but as we know that was later ruled by the Texas Supreme Court to have misled the voters.
Mayor Parker made H.E.R.O. her own little “Trojan Horse” by saying that it was eliminating discrimination and providing equal rights for all Houstonians, but in reality, she was trying to provide special rights for a select group of the GLBT community. She would fight for that by any means necessary, and proved that when she would not uphold the validated petition to place the ordinance on the ballot and tried to violate religious liberty by demanding, with a subpoena, pastors to turn over their sermons.
Now the question has come back to my campaign about my stance on H.E.R.O. now that we have a court ruling, and after having the due diligence to review both sides of the issue, I am willing to make the following statement:
I will fight for religious and civil liberties for all Houstonians, as well as property rights. I will hold government accountable to the same standards it imposes upon the people and the private sector. The current language of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance does not provide those protections, so if given the opportunity to vote as a citizen of Houston, I will be voting “NO”.
Today’s decision by the Texas Supreme Court is a victory for our democratic processes, helps maintain a proper balance of power and reinstates local control by restoring the freedom to our voters to decide what is right. Our traditional conservative values of limited government and liberty were upheld, but this fight is not over.
We will see a strong coalition of those that favor the ordinance that will start lobbying and marketing for your vote. I encourage voters to unite behind a team of candidates who will fight for our values now, and not kick the can down the road. Today I stand as a leader with my conservative friends and other candidates to defeat the ordinance as it is written and will uphold our freedom every time…So Help Me God!
I have omitted the following sentence from my statement: "I am against pedophiles having the opportunity to go into bathrooms with the intention of violating the innocence of our young sons and daughters. " This sentence was taken by some that I am saying that the transgender community are pedophiles, which is a complete fabrication of the truth. That assumption will continue to divide our great city, so in the spirit of unity, I decided it should be deleted.
I am against anything that would violate my son's innocence, and we all can agree that pedophiles do. Ultimately, I looked at H.E.R.O. as it was written and gave it the benefit of the doubt. Had my research determined that it provided equal rights for all I would have supported the ordinance, but it did not. This decision was not taken lightly. It was covered in prayer and consultation of my trusted friends and advisers.
Ultimately, this social issue has divided up our city and taken the focus off of what the fiscal problems are in our city. I think it is time for the citizen's to decide for themselves on the ballot if they want the ordinance instead of allowing a mayor and city council to get in the way of our right to vote. The Texas Supreme Court put our municipal government on the clock, and they need to act swiftly. I hope you will stand with me to make this happen.