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US: Attempt to stall Houston equality law fails over ‘invalid’ signatures on petition

Nick Duffy August 5, 2014

An attempt by church groups to trigger a ballot on Houston’s equality law has been rejected, because not enough valid signatures were gathered.

Anti-equality activists last month submitted boxes of around 31,000 signatures to block a planned LGBT equality law – above the threshold of 17,269 required to send it to a public vote.

However, the tactics of campaigners gathering signatures have been strongly criticized, with church groups claiming it would allow ‘men dressed as women’ to attack people in bathrooms.

In addition, the TransAdvocate has accused them of collecting “fraudulent” signatures from people who are not registered to vote in Houston.

Yesterday, Houston City Attorney Dave Feldman announced that so many of the signatures were invalid that a maximum of 16,500 could be genuine – below the threshold required to stall the law.

He said that signature collecting had begun before the law was even published, and many of the people who signed were not registered voters.

The decision is expected to trigger legal action, with Mayor Annise Parker saying previously: “If we say there are enough signatures, I’m assuming we get sued by groups like Mr. Freeman’s who have done their own count and disagree, and if we say that there are not enough signatures, I’m assuming we get sued by those who passed the petitions.”

The law, which passed in May, bans discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

More: anti-discrimination, Church, Discrimination, Employment, fraud, Gay, hero, Houston, Law, petition, signatures, US

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