Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a law designed to ban discrimination, has been controversial since before it was signed into law by Mayor Annise Parker on May 28, largely because of protections it offers the LGBT community. (The most controversial aspect of the bill, which involved public restrooms, was stripped from the final language two weeks before the bill passed.) City leaders fervently debated it while various organizations—based both in and out of the city—lobbied them against the bill. Noted non-Houstonian, former Presidential candidate and Fox News host Mike Huckabee urged his viewers to register their opposition with the city council and Mayor Parker.
After the bill passed, the backlash intensified. Opponents promised to challenge it with a ballot referendum in the fall. As the Houston Chronicle reported at the time: