Mayor Annise Parker's seen some shit, least of which are sloppy petitions.
Opponents of Houston's newly passed anti-discrimination law submitted a petition to repeal it in the 11th hour today, boasting 50,000 signatures for a measure that only required about 17,000. The mayor responded in an announcement at City Hall that she's looking forward to throwing out a high number of them in the counting process.
If the minimum required signatures are proven to be legitimate -- notarized and collected within 30 days after the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was passed -- a referendum vote will be held in November to determine whether it should stay or go.
The ordinance, HERO, gives local recourse to individuals discriminated against based on identifying factors including race, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender.
And yes, there is a difference between the latter two, Parker passive aggressively reminded anti-HERO protesters who have fixated on opposing the right of transgender women -- who are of biologically male sex -- to use women's bathrooms because it would endanger women and girls.
It will never be legal for a man to use the women's bathroom, Parker said cheekily to resonating applause from the 50 HERO supporters in red shirts flanking her for the cameras.
The opposition made a showing too, rivaling members of the media at about 15 strong. Though Parker made an effort to draw attention to the holistic purpose of HERO to guard against discrimination in general, anti-HERO advocates maintained that the mayor's personal lesbian agenda overrode her responsibility to the people of Houston who keep electing her into office.
Jonathan Saenz, president of Christian advocacy group Texas Values, said Parker made it clear that she doesn't really care about her non-white constituents when she failed to bring them into the discussion over the controversial anti-discrimination law in its initial stages. He accused her of passing HERO primarily for herself and other members of the LGBT community, because obviously no one could be black and gay at the same time.