This past Tuesday, Houston voters rejected the Houston Equals Rights Ordinance (HERO). While the ordinance was intended to ban discrimination, the focus was on protecting the rights of gays, lesbians, and people who are transgender. Opponents of the ordinance popularized it as the “bathroom ordinance.” The supporters of HERO credit the outcome to misrepresentations by the ordinance’s opponents that instilled fear in voters and to the lack of targeting of minority voters who would have supported the ordinance. While the consequences of the rejection are unknown, the Mayor of Houston has speculated that a possible backlash, similar to what was seen following the passage of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, may occur.

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