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Houston Loses Out On NCAA Championship Bids After Defeat of HERO

Houston Loses Out On NCAA Championship Bids After Defeat of HERO


The city lost three successive bids within hours of scrapping LGBT protections.

Tuesday provided a stark reminder of all the work left to be done for LGBT equality as Houston voters scrapped the city's anti-discrimination ordinance, known as HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance), by a large margin. The Texas metropolis is now the largest United States city with no legal protections for LGBT people, and proponents of the ordinance have braced for a backlash along the lines of post-RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) Indiana. Within the first 24 hours of the result on the referendum, potential repercussions were already being noted, with Houston losing bids to host the College Football Championships in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Responding to arguments that the committee couldn't have reacted to the vote, which took place just hours before their announcement, OutSports argued that they would have been aware of the possibility that Houston voters would legalize discrimination. "If protection for LGBT people was on the committee's radar," OutSports reports, "they would have been keeping an eye on the vote, which they knew would take place just before the announcement."

The NFL has also faced pressure to move the 2017 Superbowl out of Houston, with an online petition going up on Ben Douthett, who initiated the campaign, writes:

"It should be noted that this move would by no means be without precedent. In 1991, the NFL revoked the 1991 Super Bowl from Tempe, Arizona after that state's voters rejected a proposal recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day. After that result was reversed in another referendum on the 1992 general election ballot, Tempe was awarded the 1996 Super Bowl."

The NFL quickly issued a statement that the vote would not impact their decision to host the Superbowl in Houston, with NBC reporting a spokesperson saying:

"We will work closely with the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee to make sure all fans feel welcomed at our events. Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard."

While it remains to be seen how the NFL will respond to rising the public outcry, calls to boycott Houston will only continue to grow.

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