The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was a law passed in Houston Texas by council officials in May 2014.
It was the brain child of the Mayor of Houston Annise Parker , the first openly gay female mayor of a major US city .
The law which outlawed discrimination against people on a number of grounds included a clause which prevented discrimination against transgender people including but not limited to using the bathroom or locker room that best fit their gender identity .
Mayor Parker described the law as the "most personally meaningful thing I will ever do as mayor"
It quickly became known as "the bathroom bill" .
Opponents to the Bill argued that this could result in sexual predators claiming to be transgender in order to use women's facilities.
After much controversy , she reluctantly changed some of the wording of the bill in order to conceal this aspect of the bill from the public .
She later explained this to her transgender followers in a tweet .
“To my trans sisters/brothers: you’re still fully protected in Equal Rights Ordinance. We’re simply removing language that singled you out."
Opposition to the bill quickly gathered pace and a year long legal battle ensued to have the law revoked.
On July 24th , a Texas Supreme Court ruled that the Houston City Council must either repeal the law or put it to a vote by way of referendum.
The date for the referendum was set for November 3rd 2015 , it was known as Proposition 1 on the ballot paper .
And so the circus began
Celebrities including actors like Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eva Longoria, Matthew Morrison, and Matt Bomer and athletes like Greg Louganis, Chris Kluwe, Jason Collins, and Michael Sam all voiced support for the Bill .
Political leaders like Hillary Clinton and Obama weighed in behind the yes campaign .
The White House issued the following statement of support :
“We’re confident that the citizens of Houston will vote in favor of fairness and equality.”
Companies such as Apple , General Electric, and Hewlett Packard also put the gloves on in support of the yes side .
Apple issued the following statement
“it sends a clear message that Houston is focused on a future of inclusion, diversity, and continued prosperity.”
All the Polls suggested the law had more support than opposition .
Then the scare tactics as a last resort were drafted in .
Council member Ellen Cohen said there will be consequences for Houston, should the law be repealed.
She said its repeal could cause the city to lose tourism and business if people saw the nation’s fourth largest city as being intolerant .
she explained :
“If you go back and look and see where that has happened in the past, you’ll see that the Super Bowl and others have pulled out when cities have neglected to respect the rights of all,”
Despite everything , the people of Houston Texas went to the polls and rejected the Bill by 61% to 39% , they voted No despite all the pressure .
But there was more good news to come , the following day the National Football League said it still plans to hold the 51st Super Bowl in the city in February 2017.