This afternoon, Houston Mayor Annise Parker introduced a sweeping equal rights ordinance that, if passed by the city council, would protect Houstonians from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Mayor Parker said in a statement:
"As I stated in my State of the City Address earlier this month, the Houston I know does not discriminate, treats everyone equally and allows full participation by everyone in civic and business life," said Mayor Parker. "We don't care where you come from, the color of your skin, your age, gender, what physical limitations you may have or who you choose to love. It's time the laws on our books reflect this."
Parker is openly gay, making Houston the largest city in the country with an openly LGBT mayor. It is also the only major city in the country without civil rights protections for its residents, her office says.
Human Rights Campaign National Field Director Marty Rouse applauded the news and thanked Mayor Parker for standing up for her LGBT constituents:
"It is far past time to protect the citizens of Houston from all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As the nation's fourth largest city, Houston is an epicenter for business and culture. Cities thrive when all citizens feel welcome and part of the cultural fabric. Today, Mayor Parker told every Houstonian that they are a valued part of the city's future."
A copy of Mayor Parker's proposed Equal Rights Ordinance is after the jump.