HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has joined former Astro Lance Berkman in opposing the controversial Houston Equal Rights Ordinance
In the ongoing battle over HERO proponents have often warned rejection of the measure could have dire economic consequences, like being stripped of the Super Bowl. Pro-HERO business leaders have stopped short of a predicting an NFL pullout, but suggest without HERO Houston could become a pariah.
" If this one piece of legislation will have a negative impact we could all lose at the end of the day," said Laura Murillo, President of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Houston Super Bowl Host Commitee.
But that economic argument has been dealt a very serious blow.
Fox 26 news has learned McNair is offering $10,000 to the forces opposing the HERO ordinance.
"That was huge when he decided that he was going to put his money behind defeating this ordinance. That should send a very loud, a very clear message to anyone who would try to scare people based on these bogus Super Bowl type arguments," said Jared Woodfill, spokesman for the anti-HERO group Campaign for Houston.
"The reality is he, like most Houstonians, believes that males shouldn't be allowed to go into female restrooms, locker rooms or showers so he's taking a stand and saying no," added Woodfill.
Rice political scientist Mark Jones calls McNair's high profile support a huge setback for those pushing HERO and a development which should shine some light on the probability of a scaled back equal rights ordinance becoming law if the more controversial Prop 1 goes down to defeat.
"The reality is if the 'no' vote succeeds we will see a new HERO during 2016. It just won't have the bathroom portion of the ordinance in it," said Jones.
Informed of McNair's contribution the pro-HERO group Houston Unites issued the following statement:
"The Greater Houston Partnership knows that Houston needs the Equal Rights Ordinance to remain one of America's great cities. Those who oppose the Equal Rights Ordinance are out of step with the NFL and 200 cities around the country and 17 states."