Last week, Houston Texans owner (and billionaire) Robert McNair made a publicly touted $10,000 donation to the anti-gay group opposing Proposition 1 currently in early voting.
Proposition 1, known as HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance) would provide important LGBT protections in terms of businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting. Religious institutions are exempt.
The ordinance also bans discrimination based on sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status.
After huge national backlash against the haters, McNair has now made a statement rescinding his donation.
“I recently made a personal contribution to Campaign for Houston because my thorough review of the HERO ordinance led me to believe that a thoughtful rewrite would provide a better ordinance that would provide strong non-discrimination protections for all Houstonians, which I would support, and would be less divisive of our city.
“It was on these principles that I made my personal contribution to Campaign for Houston. To my great dismay, Campaign for Houston made numerous unauthorized statements about my opposition to HERO in print, broadcast and social media – including attributing certain statements of belief to me. Their actions and statements were never discussed with nor approved by me. Therefore I instructed the Campaign to return my contribution.
“I do not believe in or tolerate personal or professional discrimination of any kind. I also believe that we Houstonians should have an ordinance that unites our community and provides a bold statement of non-discrimination. I encourage all Houstonians to vote on November 3. Robert F. Kennedy once said, ‘Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work together to change a small portion of events, and in the total of those acts will be written the history of our generation.’”
Richard Carlbom, campaign manager for Houston Unites, the pro-HERO group, said McNair’s decision makes sense.
“Like Bob McNair, many Houstonians are taking a step back and realizing the opposition’s ads on the Equal Rights Ordinance are intended to raise anxiety with outright distortions and quite frankly lies,” said Carlbom. “When you take a second look, the Equal Rights Ordinance protects all Houstonians from discrimination and makes Houston a place everyone can be proud to call home.”
Houston is the fourth largest city in the country.
Voting continues through October 30.