While Houston City Council considers amendments to Mayor Annise Parker's controversial equal rights ordinance, Jonathan Saenz at the Liberty Institute insists opposition continues to grow.
Saenz claims 30,000 residents already have signed his email blast to council members demanding they reject the mayor's proposal.
“People are tired of Obama-style tactics trying to use government power to be in the way of their private lives and their private businesses, and they're tired of the government trying to punish them because of their religious beliefs,” Saenz tells KTRH News.
Saenz fears the main goal of the mayor's ordinance is to mandate transgender restrooms.
“People that were born as a man want to dress up as a woman and go into the women's bathroom,” he says. “There are cases in Los Angeles, Washington and Kentucky where this has happened.”
The issue has pitted Houston's gay community against members of clergy and drawn hundreds of residents for and against it to recent committee meetings.
“We represent the community that's being discussed with the equal rights amendment,” Councilwoman Ellen Cohen said Wednesday. “We are women, we are men, we represent different sexualities, we represent different faiths.”
As council moves forward with more hearings, Cohen called for civility from both the public and elected officials.
“We cannot allow passion to replace civility,” she said. “So I urge everyone in the coming week, say what you need to say, contact your council members, but please respect everyone's opinion and their right to say it.”
Calls by KTRH News seeking comment from council members were not returned.
Meantime, Mayor Annise Parker, Houston's first openly gay mayor, acknowledged she is receptive to some of council's amendments, but not others.
“Clearly the amendment to take away the applicability to the private sector is a non-starter as far as I'm concerned,” Parker told reporters. “And the idea that you ought to get one free shot at discriminating against somebody before you get penalized, I don't think is a good idea.”