Houston to vote on whether to abolish anti-discrimination laws today

Residents of Houston, Texas will vote on a significant anti-discrimination ordinance today (November 3). Proposition 1, also known as Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), is a broad ordinance that will protect Houstonians from discrimination on the basis of 15 categories, including sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. Flag The poll comes after the Texas Supreme Court, somewhat unbelievably, ordered Houston city council to either repeal its anti-discrimination laws or put them up for popular vote following a legal challenge. The fourth largest US city seems to be divided on the issue. In the months leading up to today’s vote, opponents of the proposal launched a shocking new campaign with the slogan “No men in women's bathrooms”, arguing that sexual predators could abuse transgender protections regarding the use of public bathrooms – specifically male sexual predators, apparently. Texas governor Greg Abbott tweeted ahead of today’s vote, “Vote Texas values, not @HillaryClinton values.” Houston Unites, the coalition advocating for HERO, has slammed this "bathroom ordinance" strategy. Houston’s lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, called it a scare tactic, according to the Associated Press. Houston Unites' Richard Carlbom previously told the Houston Chronicle: "Nothing in the equal rights ordinance changes the fact that it is – and always will be – illegal to enter a restroom to harm or harass other people." Hillary Clinton, Sally Field, Eva Longoria and Michael Sam, along with Houstonians Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons, are just a few of the big names who have expressed their support for the Houston referendum. White House spokesman Jeff Tiller has released this statement: "While the Administration generally does not take a formal position on specific proposals or initiatives, the President and Vice President have been strong supporters of state and local efforts to protect Americans from being discriminated against based on who they are and who they love. We're confident that the citizens of Houston will vote in favor of fairness and equality." Tech giant Apple also chimed in, saying: "Apple is proud to be a part of Houston with four stores that employ over 500 people. Our stores and our company are open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Apple supports Proposition 1 as it sends a clear message that Houston is focused on a future of inclusion, diversity and continued prosperity." More stories: Ex-boxer admits he's bisexual and lied about gay porn threesome 'drugging' Win £500 worth of store credit at MR PORTER