Houston & Annise Parker @AnniseParker (USA)

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that the Houston City Council violated the law regarding referenda when they rejected a petition to put the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, a law banning discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, to a popular vote. The court ordered the city to either repeal the ordinance or put it to a vote, as follows:

“The legislative power reserved to the people of Houston is not being honored. Accordingly, without hearing oral argument, TEX.R.APP.P.52.8(c), we conditionally grant the writ of mandamus lest the actions of city officials “thwart[] . . . the will of the public.” See Coalson, 610 S.W.2d at 747. The City Council is directed to comply with its duties, as specified in the City Charter, that arise when the City Secretary certifies that a referendum petition has a sufficient number of valid signatures. Any enforcement of the ordinance shall be suspended, and the City Council shall reconsider the ordinance. If the CityCouncil does not repeal the ordinance byAugust 24, 2015, then by that date the City Council must order that the ordinance be put to popular vote during the November 2015 election. The writ will issue only if the City Council does not comply.”


City of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) suspended _ abc13

Personal Privacy Protection Act (USA)

The Personal Privacy Protection Act is a ballot initiative pushed by the anti-feminist Pacific Justice Institute to allow California voters to decide whether California restrooms, showers, dressing rooms, and locker rooms should be available based solely on biological sex. The measure is in response to overbroad gender identity legislation pushed by  anti-Woman organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

We have noted the inevitable conflict between sex and gender identity for a while now. It is unfortunate that these extremist organizations are the only voices “heard” in this discussion, as most Women, regardless of sexual orientation, religious belief or political affiliation, understand that Transwomen are Male, and that Women want space away from Males in restrooms, showers, dressing rooms, and locker rooms.


No Unequal Rights (USA)

No Unequal Rights is a coalition of organizations that oppose the Houston, Texas ordinance that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The organization has produced a document that details numerous instances of Men “dressing as” Women to gain access to Women-only space.

We wish GLBT organizations would modify the definition of “gender identity” they put forth in these ordinances, as it would be easier to address these concerns.

Houston, Texas (USA)

Houston, Texas Mayor Annise Parker said that the city would drop controversial subpoenas that asked five local pastors for copies of some of their sermons and communications. The city passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which provides protections to city’s gay and transgender community at the expense of Women. Led by some of the subpoenaed pastors, organizers collected signatures to try to repeal the ordinance through a referendum.

As The Washington Post explains, “supporters of the repeal reportedly gathered 50,000 signatures, well over the 17,269 needed for inclusion on the November ballot.” But the city threw out thousands of them, saying they were invalid, and that meant the question was removed from the ballots.

A group of Christians sued Houston and in response, the city issued subpoenas for the sermons and communications of five pastors that the city said could help prove their case in court.

Houston Narrows The Scope Of Controversial Subpoena Of Pastors’ Sermons _ The Two-Way _ NPR

Houston Approves Equal Rights Ordinance With LGBT Protections


Houston, we have a problem – Alliance Defending Freedom


Houston subpoenas pastors’ sermons in gay rights ordinance case – The Washington Post

Mayor Parker revises, narrows sermon subpoena request – Houston Chronicle



Neil Parrott @neilparrott (USA)

Neil Parrott is a Republican delegate from Maryland. He is challenging the Fairness for All Marylanders Act by attempting to petition the bill to referendum through the use of his online signature gathering portal, mdpetitions.com.
Gender Identity Watch opposes efforts to petition this law (and other civil rights laws) to referendum.  Although we view the law as over broad and harmful to women, the idea that rights should be voted on by the majority is anathema to our core beliefs. Additionally, if he successfully petitions the bill to referendum, Marylanders can look forward to months of homophobic advertisements in media, as right-wing critics of gender identity laws rely on homophobia to justify their opposition.
Gay rights activists defeated a similar effort to overturn the Anti-Discrimination Act, which banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations, in 2002.
Maryland lawmaker seeks referendum on trans rights bill.

Teal v. Bd. of Comm’Rs of Haverford Twp. (USA)

James D. Schneller, individually and on behalf of Philadelphia Metro Task Force (PMTF) (collectively, Schneller), appealled a denial of his Petition to Succeed Plaintiff and to Join Counts (Petition) in Fred W. Teal v. Board of Commissioners of Haverford Township, Pennsylvania, Case No. 11-1989 (Teal).  On appeal, the court considered (1) whether the Delaware County Office of Judicial Support (Office of Judicial Support) properly transmitted the trial court’s record to this Court; (2) whether the trial court erred or abused its discretion by refusing to substitute Schneller for Fred W. Teal (Teal) and to join new causes of action to Teal; and, (3) whether the trial court erred or abused its discretion by concluding that Schneller lacked standing.

PMTF “is an organization that attempts to maintain family values in local governments in Southeastern Pennsylvania, mainly, and otherwise support[s] the more traditional and moral[-]based tenants (sic) of society and of local government.”  On February 14, 2011, Haverford Township (Township) Board of Commissioners (Board) enacted Ordinance 183 which created a Township Human Relations Commission and prohibited unlawful discrimination as follows:

[T]o ensure that all persons, regardless of race, color, religious creed, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, handicap or disability, . . . or because of a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression enjoy the full benefits of citizenship and are afforded equal opportunities for employment, housing, commercial property, and the use of public accommodations . . . .

On March 14, 2011, Teal filed a petition for review and permanent injunction with the trial court seeking to prohibit the Board from implementing Ordinance 183 because it was improperly enacted, and the Board exceeded its powers by granting equal opportunity protections based upon “a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.” The Board filed preliminary objections to Teal’s petition. On May 13, 2011, the trial court denied the Board’s preliminary objections, and granted Teal leave to file a complaint.

Teal died on September 21, 2012. On October 4, 2012, the Board filed with the trial court a notice of Teal’s death. Because no personal representative was appointed over Teal’s estate, the trial court record was returned to the Delaware County Office of Judicial Support with an order that either party may file a praecipe within one year to list the matter for trial or, after one year, to abate the proceeding.

On January 23, 2013, Schneller filed his Petition, wherein he claimed standing as a taxpayer and private attorney general, and sought to add a discrimination claim to Teal’s original complaint. Argument on the Petition was held before the trial court on February 28, 2013. On March 1, 2013, the trial court denied the Petition. Schneller appealed to this Court.

Schneller argued that the trial court erred or abused its discretion by concluding that he and PMTF lacked standing. The basis of Teal’s complaint was the alleged improper enactment of the Township Ordinance 183.  Schneller did not reside in the Township nor did he have any property, business or commercial interests in the Township. Moreover, there was no evidence that PMTF was located in the Township, or that any of its members resided in the Township, and none of the members alleged any injury as a result of the challenged action. Where there is no obvious connection between Schneller and PMTF and the Township or the challenged ordinance, and no discernible adverse effect to an interest other than the abstract interest of the general citizenry, the appellate court held that the trial court did not err or abuse its discretion by concluding that Schneller and PMTF lacked standing.

Teal v. Bd. of Comm’Rs of Haverford Twp.

Challenge to Conshohocken LGBT ordinance dismissed.

Conshohocken Council Passes Human Relation Ordinance — Who Is James Schneller_ – Amplify.

Ordinance 183.

California (USA)

A Sacramento judge ruled Thursday that California must count thousands of signatures collected in two counties for a referendum seeking to overturn a new law regarding transgender students. The law, A.B. 1266, allows transgender students to participate in school programs and use facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity instead of their sex. A coalition called Privacy for All Students has sought to block the law through a ballot measure. Secretary of State Debra Bowen had refused to count some 5,000 petition signatures submitted in Mono and Tulare counties because the referendum’s supporters had failed to submit them by the Nov. 10 deadline. But because Nov. 10 was a Sunday and the next day, Nov. 11, was Veteran’s day, Judge Allen Sumner of the California Superior Court in Sacramento ruled that the signatures were filed timely on Nov. 12. The judge also said the supporters “substantially complied” with the filing deadline by unsuccessfully attempting to submit the petitions before Nov. 10.

State ordered to count more signatures in transgender law petition – latimes.com.

Judge Rules California Must Count Rejected Transgender Petitions « CBS Sacramento.

Privacy for All Students (USA)

haPrivacy for All Students, a coalition formed to overturn AB 1266, will likely not succeed in its effort to overturn the measure at the ballot box.  The coalition submitted 613,120 signatures to get the initiative on the November 2014 ballot — 108,360 more than required by law. As of Friday, early results of a random sampling of petition signatures finds that only 76.7% of signatures submitted are valid, indicating that if the trend holds, the referendum initiative would fail.  The coalition has not updated its website since turning in the petitions.

Sample of Signatures.

Effort to repeal Calif.

California anti-trans referendum may not qualify for ballot _ Gay Star News.

DB13_034 _ News Release – California Secretary of State Debra Bowen.


Privacy for All Students (USA)

Opponents of a new California law that eviscerates sex-based facilities for girls said Sunday that they had collected enough signatures for an initiative that would repeal the law.

A coalition of conservative groups called Privacy for all Students submitted 620,000 signatures to get the initiative on the November 2014 ballot, said Frank Schubert, the political strategist handling the signature gathering effort.

To qualify, at least 505,000 valid signatures must be submitted. To verify the signatures, each of California’s 58 counties will first check that the overall count is correct, then conduct a random sampling to make sure they are legitimate. After that, it is likely the state would order a full review.

If, after all of the reviews, the group has the requisite number of valid signatures, the initiative would qualify for the ballot.

Group Says California Transgender Law Repeal Will Qualify.

Herman Rowland Sr. and Privacy for All Students (USA)



The National Center for Transgender Equality, the Transgender Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian rights and Equality California sent a letter to Herman Rowland Sr., chair of the Jelly Belly company, upon learning that he donated $5,000 to Privacy for All Students, a political action committee that formed to repeal AB 1266 in California.  AB 1266 permits “(a) pupil … to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”  The legislation, which goes into effect January 1, 2014, completely guts the Sex Equity in Education Act, which guaranteed equal participation in sex-segregated activities for girls. With this legislation, a boy can participate in any and all activities – and use any and all facilities designated for girls – by simply declaring that he “identifies as a girl.”

Donations to political campaigns are public, and anyone can look them up here.

Herman Rowland Sr.
Herman Rowland Sr.

LGBT Groups Take On Jelly Belly Chairman For Anti-Transgender Referendum Donation.

Trans Advocates Want to Meet With Jelly Belly Chairman _ Advocate.

California Secretary of State – CalAccess – Campaign Finance.