HERO backers tap star power to save ordinance

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It all started with Beyonce. And it's ending with Sally Field, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julian Castro. In the closing days of the battle to save HERO, supporters are hoping a little star power helps.

Field, a two-time Oscar-winning actress, arrives in Houston on Wednesday for a fundraiser and VIP reception for Houston Unties, the group leading HERO support and raising as much cash as possible to keep their TV ad efforts on the air. A day later, she headlines a press conference with civic leaders and elected officials to stress how the city's non-discrimination ordinance helps women.

With less than a week until Election Day, the event will highlight the importance of HERO to women and how women all across Houston – and from every walk of life – are leading the fight for Proposition 1 to ensure they get a fair shot at success. One in every five complaints filed under HERO were related to pregnancy or gender discrimination and the equal rights ordinance is a necessary and important tool to fight back against the discrimination that many women face in their daily lives. HERO protects Houstonians from discrimination in housing, employment and public spaces across 15 classes, including race, gender, military status, sexual orientation and gender identity. If the equal rights ordinance is repealed, Houston would be the largest city in the U.S. without a local ordinance for dealing with discrimination claims.

Field backing HERO comes amid several recent high-profile endorsements. On Tuesday, Houston voters heads to the polls to decide HERO's fate.

On Tuesday, former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro – now HUD secretary and Democratic wunderkind – released an ad supporting HERO and urging voters to say #YesOnProp1. On the ballot, HERO is known as Proposition 1.

Also this week, “Modern Family” actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and husband Justin Mikita (top photo) went all in on HERO – to the tune of $20,000.

Via HRC blog:

With just one week until Election Day, actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) and husband Justin Mikita have announced their support for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).

“As a happily — and legally — married couple, we couldn’t imagine being fired from our jobs for exercising our right to marry,” Mikita explained in an email for HRC. “But that is what the people of Houston could be up against if HERO is repealed.”

With their foundation Tie The Knot, the couple is stepping up as heroes for Houston. They are matching every donation up to $20,000 to help protect HERO.

“While Jesse plays a lawyer on TV, I'm an attorney in real life. I think we can both agree that Houston — the fourth largest city in America — can't undo these critical legal protections,” Mikita continued. “This has real-life consequences not just for Houston, but for all of us.”

Last week, gay pro jocks Jason Collins and Michael Sam also came out swinging for HERO.

Sam, a Galveston native, used his endorsement to help raise funds to support pro-HERO efforts.

I know first-hand what it feels like to be unwelcome – to live an open and authentic life in a place where you can be ostracized or even discriminated against for simply being yourself. That's why as a Texas native I was thrilled when Houston passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) last year… and equally disappointed when opponents petitioned for its repeal this year. Now it's on the ballot and it’s up to all of us to protect Houstonians from discrimination.

And to think all HERO opponents have offered is Big Puma and Steven Hotze, that crazy Houston doctor with a sword and conference room full of hate.

UPDATE | “Magic Mike” Matt Bomer too.


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