Not satisfied with efforts to repeal Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance, one anti-LGBT activist is calling for a charter amendment to ban transgender protections in the city.
HERO opponents filed a lawsuit against the city, which heads to trial Tuesday, after officials rejected their petition to place the ordinance on the ballot, saying it didn't have enough valid signatures.
Now, anti-LGBT activist Dave Wilson is circulating another petition that would place a charter amendment on the ballot to repeal trans protections in both HERO and Mayor Annise Parker's 2012 executive order covering city employees.
Wilson, of Houstonians For Family Values, led efforts to pass a charter amendment prohibiting domestic partner benefits in 2001. He also made headlines in 2013 when he deceived voters into thinking he was black to get elected to the Houston Community College board.
Houston resident Sheri Taylor Bockelman, the mother of trans activist Nikki Araguz, said she received the petition in the mail along with a letter from Wilson on Saturday. (View images of the mailing below.)
"Enclosed please find our petition to prohibit men from using the women's restroom and women from using the men's restroom," Wilson's letter states. "Yes, you read the first sentence correctly."
The letter goes on to state that both HERO and the executive order prohibiting discrimination against trans city employees "allow men to use the women's restroom if they perceive or express themselves as women."
"The current lawsuit against the Mayor's bathroom ordinance will not stop her," Wilson writes. "We must change the City Charter to prohibit her (or any future mayor) from passing Executive Orders or Ordinances. An amendment to the City Charter is the only permanent solution. What happens to the citizens of Houston and their City government when both have largely forgotten God and instead worship pleasure over principle and elevate lust over love? If you feel that getting involved in politics and signing the enclosed petition is beneath your dignity because you want to focus on worshipping and not politics, you better think again! Your religious freedom will evaporate in the absence of political freedom."
In addition to signing and returning the anti-trans petition, Wilson's mailer asks recipients to indicate whether they'd be willing to sign a petition to recall Parker, whose final term expires at the end of this year. The anti-trans petition, also posted on HFFV's website, would amend the City Charter to read:
"Except as required by State or Federal law, the City of Houston shall only define 'Gender Identity' as an Individual's Innate Identification, as either male or female, which Is assigned at birth. Perceived gender identification Is not allowed In defining 'Gender Identity.' Furthermore, the City of Houston shall require entities doing business with the city to adopt the same definition of 'Gender Identity.'"
According to Texas state law, the charter amendment would require 20,000 signatures to be placed on the ballot.
In the case of HERO, the city said opponents of the ordinance failed to gather the required 17,269 valid signatures. So it seems unlikely Wilson could gather a larger number for an even more extreme proposal.