Mayor Annise Parker defended the city's LGBT-inclusive Equal Rights Ordinance and promised victory in court or at the ballot box as the measure awaits a pivotal court decision this week.
"Many of you here today helped with this effort and I remain truly thankful for that help," Parker said Thursday during her final State of the City Address. "Unfortunately, we haven't been able to enact that law because of ongoing court challenges. However, I am confident of victory whether in the courts or in the ballot box."
Parker's comments to the Greater Houston Partnership came as she and HERO supporters await a decision from Judge Robert Schaffer. He said during a hearing on Monday that he'll decide by week's end if opponents gathered enough valid signatures to force a public vote on the ordinance.
Anti-gay opponents of HERO argued they collected 200 more valid signatures then needed on their petitions, a claim Parker and the city shot down in a lawsuit filed after the city rejected the petition in August. The case went to trial in February.
The measure became law last year but Parker put it on hold pending the court challenge. On Thursday, she thanked City Council members Mike Laster, one of two openly gay members, and Ellen Cohen for gathering votes from colleagues to pass the measure.
"As I said a year ago standing before you, Houston is an amazing place. We don't care where you come from, we don't care the color of your skin, your age, your gender or what physical limitations you may have or who you choose to love. We will always put Houston and all Houstonians first," Parker said.
Parker said in March that she'll win on HERO before leaving office.
[video via HTV]