Mayor drafts equal rights ordinance to prohibit job discrimination

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - According to the mayor's office, Houston is the only major city in the country without Civil Rights protections for its residents. Mayor Annise Parker is aiming to change that.

The mayor's draft ordinance would prohibit discrimination in city employment, contracting, housing, public accommodations and private employment at businesses with at least 50 employees.

The ordinance also gives the mayor discretion to create an advisory task force to study and report on matters related to the ordinance.

Not everyone, including some businesses, is in favor of the ordinance, saying Houston's diverse workforce is proof itself that discrimination is not a major issue.

Parker has a different view.

"It shouldn't matter in Houston. Your place of origin, your gender, your age, what physical limitations you may have, your race and who you choose to love. Because Houston is such an open and welcoming place and those things shouldn't matter. It's time for an ordinance to that position," Parker said.

What the mayor presented Monday was just a draft.

Parker plans to introduce the proposal to a city council committee next Wednesday and then bring it to the full council for a vote on May 7.

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