Mayor Parker delivers State of the City address

HOUSTON - Some big announcements Thursday when Mayor Annise Parker delivered her State of the City address.

Walking on stage to the song "Taking Care of Business," Parker made it clear that she will take an aggressive approach in her final two years at City Hall.

Parker talked about the city's robust economy and other priority projects, but it was her announcement about moving forward with a human rights ordinance that is creating the most buzz.

"Houston is the only major city in the nation without civil rights protections for its residents," said Parker.

Parker said the proposed ordinance would prohibit discrimination in city hiring, contracting housing and public accommodations, such as bars and businesses. Specifically, it would also add protections for gay and transgendered citizens.

Complaints would be reviewed by the city's Office of Inspector General and a newly appointed seven-member Human Rights Commission.

"I'm against any type of discrimination against any one. But I'm concerned about how does it impact our businesses? How does it impact our churches and religious organizations?" said Michael Kubosh of City Hall.

In a statement, the Houston-area pastor council stated: "The ordinance assaults is not only the values but the basic first amendment rights of citizens, business owners and church's to live, speak about and practice their faith."

The mayor said that a draft of the ordinance is still being worked on, but she hopes to pass the ordinance next month.

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