It wasn't just a loss. It was a rout. Voters in Houston appear to have overwhelmingly rejected the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). Though votes aren't fully tallied, with about two-thirds counted, more than 60 percent have said no to keeping HERO.
HERO prohibited discrimination in employment (both public and private), public accommodations, and housing for several categories of citizens. Some of it, like race, gender, religion, nationality, et cetera, is already covered by federal law. HERO, though, also added sexual orientation and gender identity, currently uncovered by either the federal government or the state of Texas.
Opponents of HERO focused heavily on gender identity with a campaign that seemed entirely about transgender bathroom panic. I criticized the tactic earlier today, so I guess I will not pursue a career as a consultant on conservative ballot initiative campaigns. It worked!
I will not weep any tears over the loss of HERO, though I find the anti-transgender tactics loathsome. Houston should maybe consider focusing on ending discrimination against gay and transgender folks just in city government itself and leave the citizens to hammer out their private interactions on their own.