HOUSTON, Texas—Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, and former Houston Astros and six-time MLB All-Star Lance Berkman, oppose an ordinance that would allow transgendered men to use women’s restrooms in Houston. The chairman of the Harris County, Texas, Republican Party dubs the ordinance “Mayor Parker’s Sexual Predator Protection Act.”
Berkman has appeared in a television ad asking Houstonians to “Vote ‘No’ on Proposition 1.” He ends the ad by saying, “No men in women’s bathrooms. No boys in girls’ showers or locker rooms.”
The slugger says in the ad, “I played professional baseball for fifteen years, but my family is more important.” He explains, “My wife and I have four daughters. Proposition 1 would allow troubled men who claim to be women to enter women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. It’s better to prevent this danger by closing women’s restrooms to men, rather than waiting for a crime to happen. Join me to stop the violation of privacy and discrimination against women.”
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, Houston’s mayor hit back at Berkman using Twitter to call him a hypocrite saying he had played baseball in cities that have nondiscrimination ordinances. She also gibed him stating, “Guess his girls didn’t go to his games!”
The Chronicle reported that Houston Mayor Annise Parker has warned that repealing the law could jeopardize the city’s ability to procure events such as the 2017 Super Bowl. A spokesperson for the Campaign for Houston responded that McNair would not be donating to the campaign if there were any truth to that claim. Super Bowl XLI has already been awarded to Houston and will be played in the Bayou City on February 5, 2017 according to the official website for the event.
In spring of 2014, Mayor Annise Parker introduced a 35 page city ordinance that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity among thirteen other “protected characteristics.” Parker entitled it “H.E.R.O.” (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance). Parker is Houston’s first openly gay mayor.
Proponents of the measure say that it addresses discrimination in city employment, city contracting, housing, public accommodations and private employment, as reported by Breitbart Texas.
Opponents say that the proposed ordinance requires Houston businesses to make all women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms available to all who are dressed in female attire, without regard to biological sex. They say “[t]his provision subjects women and girls to sexual predators who are allegedly confused by their gender identity.”
Opponents are also concerned that the ordinance would lead to quotas in hiring and in city contracts and affirmative action requirements. They also fear that failing to meet these quotas, or to refuse transvestites access to women’s restrooms, would lead to criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits.
Breitbart Texas’ Bob Price conducted a video interview with Houston Councilman Michael Kubosh who said among other things, that “They’ve added these other classes, of sexual identity and gender expression, and these things have confused the issue. The business community doesn’t want to be perceived as being in any way discriminating. But they [the backers of the ordinance] want to criminalize anyone who denies them service or feels like they may be discriminated [against] by any business.”
The ordinance would apply to employers who have fifty or more employees.
During her campaign for mayor of the fourth largest city in the nation, Parker promised not to promote a gay agenda. Mayor Parker later worked with other mayors in the nation for the legalization of same-sex marriage, and she proclaimed Valentine’s Day 2014 Freedom to Marry Day. The Mayor contends that her opinions on the GLBT issue is more about freedom of speech than promotion of an ideology.
The bathroom ordinance will be on the ballot in Houston on November 3. Early voting starts on Monday, October 19.
This article has been updated with additional information about Super Bowl XLI.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and an associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2