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You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
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What Houston Means for the LGBT Rights Movement
On November 3rd, the LGBT rights movement suffered a huge blow, with Houston voting against a nondiscrimination ordinance that would have extended protections in housing, employment, and public spaces to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. To many equality activists within the LGBT community, this signaled a devastating setback to the advancement of LGBT rights throughout the country, especially since a proposed federal nondiscrimination law has little chance of advancing past Republican opposition.
While this defeat is disheartening to the LGBT community and its advocates, it does indicate that the fight for equal rights is far from over. Across the country, activists are pushing to eliminate discriminatory laws and advance the cause, but they’re seeing well-funded pushback from those who would like to maintain the status quo. The defeat in Houston has many lessons to teach policy influencers and campaign staff about how to combat the shady tactics and deep pockets of anti-equality efforts.
The significant set back in Houston shows there is important work to be done for #LGBTrights. Click To Tweet
Houston’s Campaign of Misinformation and Deception
The equal protection ordinance in Houston had wide support from the local LGBT community, along with the backing of local business owners and community leaders. So why was the Houston ordinance defeated by such a large margin, despite outspending opponents and receiving support from the people it would have had the biggest impact on? Misinformation and scare tactics.
- Scare Tactics – The main tactic of the opposition was a series of vicious scare ads that told viewers the equal rights ordinance would result in male sex predators masquerading as transgender women to prey on girls in restrooms. Unfortunately, these ads were so effective that many voters believed the vote was only about bathroom access.
- False Freedom – Other attack ads presented the ordinance as an attack on religious liberty or “Texas values” and framed the vote as a referendum on freedom and safety, despite the complete lack of facts to support these claims.
- Failed Opportunity – Many observers believe that the pro-equal rights movement failed to present the ordinance in a way that would appeal to most voters. For example, few ads highlighted the widespread support of business leaders concerned that striking down the ordinance would mark Houston as an unwelcoming, bigoted place to visit or do business.
Scare tactics and “save our children” rhetoric are nothing new when it comes to discriminating against LGBT people: since the 1970s, bigots have used fear-mongering to hamper LGBT rights, but it’s chilling that this tactic remains so effective.
The defeat in Houston has lessons to teach policy influencers and #EqualRights advocates. Click To Tweet
What’s Next for LGBT Equality?
Most LGBT advocates agree that equal rights and protection from discrimination should be the focus of the LGBT community in the future, with groups throughout the country introducing ballot propositions and local ordinances that will shape the rights of LGBT individuals for years to come. After seeing the effective scare tactics employed by the opposition in Houston, advocates are now better-equipped to deal with similar opposition in many other states:
- California – Efforts have begun to strike down a 2013 California law allows transgender students to participate in activities and use facilities corresponding to their gender identity. It’s a safe bet that many of the same scare tactics will be used to warp public opinion if this measure makes it to the ballot.
- Illinois – School officials in one Illinois city are campaigning against the United States Education Department after denying a transgender student access to a girls’ high school locker room.
- Wisconsin – Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have recently introduced a bill that would block transgender students from using locker rooms or bathrooms based on gender identity.
#LGBTrights: We must devise strategies to educate the public to prevent future losses. Click To Tweet
Houston may have given the anti-equality campaigns a blueprint to electoral success, but it’s also given the LGBT community and advocates a powerful tool to defeating measures that would limit equal rights and access. Going into these fights prepared for scare tactics and misinformation may help progressives devise strategies to educate and engage the public to prevent future losses.
Getting Involved in LGBT Advocacy
Most states and localities don’t have adequate protections in place for the LGBT community, and there are a lot of people who are working to eliminate that disparity. The opponents of LGBT equality have deep pockets, however, and many of the organizations and grassroots efforts to ensure equal access and prevent discriminatory laws rely on citizens to help spread the message and increase voter support.
Most areas in the U.S. don’t have adequate protections in place for the #LGBTcommunity. Click To Tweet
If you’d like to help ensure an equitable future for the LGBT community, get in touch with local LGBT organizations to find out ways you can help the cause. Also, please let us know of any LGBT equality struggles in your communities.