Houston's mayor bows to public pressure as city council prepares to vote on her controversial equal rights measure.
After weeks of backlash over whether to allow transgenders into public restrooms of their choosing, Mayor Annise Parker said she was willing to compromise.
“The solution is to remove that particular section of the ordinance,” Parker told reporters Tuesday morning. “We have strong commitment on council and strong commitment from the community on the base ordinance.”
The mayor was flanked by local clergy and business leaders who have voiced support for her proposal.
“We believe this change is an appropriate response to the concerns raised in the community regarding privacy and security,” said Bob Harvey at the Greater Houston Partnership.
The change still didn't stop hundreds from rallying against the measure outside City Hall.
“Even though they took out the restroom issue, they still left in public accommodations, and that is vague,” said a member of the city's black clergy. “Then it is added sexual gender, sexual expression and sexual orientation.”
“It is disgusting, humiliating and beyond any sense of common morale decency,” said one woman.
Opponents insist state and federal law already protect against discrimination.
“We're a good city, we don't need all this division that's being brought by the ordinance,” says Councilman Michael Kubosh who plans to vote against the measure Wednesday.