Controversial bathroom access nixed from equal rights law in other cities

HERO ordinance in Texas

- A number of Texas Cities with equal rights laws have stopped short of granting transgender folks full legal access to bathroom of their choice.

"Houston is the only major City in Texas without these protections against discrimination in jobs housing and public places," declares a radio ad by Houston Unites, a group pushing passage of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.

And while it's true other cities in this state have measures in place, some are substantially different than the law proposed here in Houston.

Fox 26 has reviewed the equal rights ordinance in Ft. Worth and found that it preserves the right to exclude from men's or women's restroom facilities members of the opposite sex.

And in the Dallas suburb of Plano lawmakers purposely excluded bathroom access from their ordinance.

HERO opponent Jared Woodfill sees as over reach Houston's proposed ordinance granting transgender folks access to the bathroom of their choice.

"If you compare it to Ft. Worth, if you compare it to San Antonio, if you compare it to Plano the exact opposite language is there. In those cities they make it very clear that it is illegal and unlawful for a man to go into a female restroom and locker room. Houston says  just the opposite. Houston says not only is it lawful, but if you don't allow it we are coming after you," said Woodfill.

In a statement e-mailed to Fox 26 Houston Unites said "Most equal rights ordinances in Texas, and in 200 other cities, are very similar to the one proposed in Houston and have been put in place with no increase in public safety incidents".

It is a sentiment echoed by attorney and Fox 26 legal analyst Chris Tritico.

"People who are transgender go in, go to the bathroom, wash their hands and then leave are not going to be prosecuted because they didn't do anything wrong. The perverts will be prosecuted because they are acting like perverts," said Tritico.

But what many HERO opponents want voters to realize is that City leaders could have crafted an equal rights ordinance that offers lots of new protections minus the bathroom access that makes lots of people really uncomfortable.

They contend Plano and Ft. Worth, stand as proof.  


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