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HOUSTON, Texas – In Texas, the biggest city in the biggest Republican county has just adopted an Equal Rights Ordinance that, according to critics, already is being used by men to enter women’s restrooms on the grounds they consider themselves women.

The ordinance was adopted 11-6 by the Houston City Council on the insistence of lesbian Mayor Annise Parker, who has acknowledged it’s “all about me.”

But Rev. Dave Welch, founder of the U.S. Pastor Council, is leading a petition drive for a citywide referendum on the ordinance, charging the will of citizens is being ignored.

The City Council’s approval prompted a mass exodus from the session of local black pastors who had come to speak against the ordinance.

“It was clear that enough council members had decided to vote with Annise Parker’s personal agenda over the clear will of the people and basic decency in this act of thumbing their nose at respected black clergy who represented all of us,” he said.

“Our only way of showing that we understood what had happened and to respond effectively was to vote with our legs,” he said.

Welch said many Houston churches are galvanized.

“We are very enthused by the massive coming together of pastors and churches in every corner of Houston,” he said.

Meanwhile, there have been reports of homosexual activists threatening and attacking workers gathering petition signatures.

Trenton Pool said he was mugged and beaten outside a store while circulating petitions. His top petition gatherer, he said, was assaulted at a gas station.

Another, he said, was the victim of a “gay” activist who called police, charging that the petitioner was  soliciting on private property. His car was towed while he was detained in the back seat of a squad car, according to Pool.

Political activist writer Scott Braddock has attacked opponents of the ordinance, writing an article at Quorum Report condemning social conservatives.

Critics now have dubbed the law the “sexual predator protection act,” claiming that by designating transgender or gender-confused persons as a protected class, women and children are threatened by predators seeking to exploit the ordinance’s ambiguous language.

Political activist Steven F. Hotze said the ordinance would establish minority status for transvestites, allowing men who dress as women to enter women’s public bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities.

“I want to protect my wife, daughters and granddaughters from being exposed to the dangers of male sexual predators masquerading as women in women’s public bathrooms and other facilities,” he said. “This is why it has been called the Sexual Predators’ Protection Act.”

Houston is just the latest jurisdiction to adopt such provisions.

WND reported citizens in Maryland launched a voter initiative against a law approved by the legislature that allows people to use sex-segregated facilities according to their “perceived” gender.

Opponents there also charge the law effectively allows men to use women’s bathroom and shower facilities.

They point to cases such as a man in Indianapolis who allegedly went into a women’s locker room at a YMCA and watched girls, ages 7 and 10, shower.

The new Maryland law, the “Fairness For All Marylanders Act,” would allow the man “to do the same thing in Maryland if he simply claims to identify as a woman,” according to the citzens group MDPetitions, which is collecting signatures to put the issue on the fall ballot.

Critics of the Maryland bill also cite the case of convicted sexual predator Christopher Hambrook in Toronto. Hambrook claimed to be a transgender and preyed on women at two Toronto shelters.

But under the new Maryland law, he would be able to go into women’s restrooms.

In Houston, recent Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill said there is “no room for ambiguity where it concerns public safety.”

“I have fought these battles as an attorney for decades and as chairman of the Harris County Republican Party more recently. Warm fuzzies for special interests cannot be allowed to supersede the safety of our citizens,” he said.

Woodfill said “criminal minds” are already abusing the ordinance.

“No slippery slope fallacies are necessary to illustrate the dangerous nature of this terrible ordinance,” he said.

Hotze, who runs the largest Political Action Committee in Texas, said business owners who disapprove of a person’s actions or moral character should not be coerced to violate their moral or religious beliefs.

“According to Parker’s ordinance, if you refused to hire, do business with, or refused a transvestite access to female restrooms, locker rooms or shower, then you would be prosecuted as a criminal,” he argued.

“Sexual lifestyle and gender confusion are not equal to race, disability or other legitimate minorities,” Hotze asserted.

Hotze, head of the powerful lobbying group Conservative Republicans of Texas, is fresh off a “Defense of Texas Marriage” petition drive that culminated in a massive rally at the Texas Republican State Convention in Fort Worth.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, headlined the event and was introduced by Hotze as the “next president of the United States” amid wild cheers of, “Run Ted, run!”

Highlights, including a warning from Cruz that the judiciary and “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” are trying to destroy America’s Christian values, have been posted online:

Houston City Council member Ellen Cohen called warnings that the ordinance is dangerous “totally unfounded.”

Woodfill argued, however, that “societies do not collapse in one fell swoop.

“Instead, nations fall as a result of baby steps stretching across long periods, and the piecemeal acceptance of behaviors and actions that violate the rights of individuals and the step-by-step marketing of anarchy as ‘freedom,’” he said.

“What will future generations say when they look back at Houston and its decision to expose women and innocent children to the risk of predators and perverts who seek to expose themselves under the guise of feeling like a different gender?” he said. “Will they understand our ‘sensitivity’ to those confused about their gender, or will they instead see rapacious cruelty in the eyes of the children we endangered with our outrageous political correctness? History is on the side of the latter.”

Among those who have blasted the ordinance is Pastor Steve Riggle, who leads the popular mega-church Grace Community in Houston.

WND reported earlier that the idea already had been adopted in Montgomery County, Maryland.

That “bathroom bill” was followed by adoption by California lawmakers of a plan allowing public school children to represent themselves to school officials as whichever gender they choose, allowing them to use facilities designated for the opposite sex.

Antipathy for opponents of the homosexual-promoting agenda in public education and the public square in Maryland runs deep.

WND reported Joshua Starr, the superintendent of the Montgomery County, Maryland, school district, was the target of a request for a civil rights investigation after he described supporters of traditional marriage as “really, really disgusting.”

At the time, Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays, said Starr “misused his official position as school superintendent to gain access to students and indoctrinate them with his prejudicial bias against the ex-gay community.”

“The Department of Justice has investigated complaints against schools for discriminating against transgenders – those who have changed their gender identity. The ex-gay community – those who have changed their sexual orientation – asks for equal treatment from our federal government,” she said.

WND last August reported that a well-organized coalition of pro-family and civic organizations in Miami-Dade County, Florida, soundly defeated a state measure that would have given transsexuals access to public restrooms and locker rooms used by the opposite sex.

The Miami-Dade Commission gave initial approval a year ago to adding “gender identity and expression” to the county’s anti-discrimination law by an 11-1 vote but the measure stalled after intense lobbying by opponents, led by the local Christian Family Coalition.

Sponsors withdrew it the bill because they lacked the votes to get it through committee.

The victory in liberal Miami-Dade “is really landmark,” said Christian Family Coalition executive director Anthony Verdugo of the win 36 years after singer Anita Bryant led the successful repeal of Miami-Dade County’s homosexual rights law.

Colorado adopted a radical “transgender nondiscrimination” bill in 2008 that makes it illegal to deny a person access to public accommodations, including restrooms and locker rooms, based on gender identity or the “perception” of gender identity. One consequence of the law is a ruling forcing authorities to permit 6-year-old Coy Mathis – a boy who says he thinks he’s a girl – to use the girls bathroom at his elementary school.

Nationwide, 17 states and the District of Columbia have embraced the transsexual agenda. Rhode Island added “gender identity and expression” to its anti-discrimination law in June with the support of Gov. Jack Markell, and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden announced his support in an Equality Delaware video.

But other attempts to advance the transsexual agenda were defeated in Montana, Missouri, North Dakota and New York, where state Senate leaders refused to allow a vote.

Here what happened in Washington state:

The Obama administration is solidly behind the move to open locker room doors to some members of the opposite sex.

  • President Obama signed the U.N. Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity;
  • The White House hosted the first-ever meeting with transgender activists;
  • The Department of State made it easier for transsexuals to change the sex indicated on passports;
  • The U.S. Justice Department sided in July with a transsexual individual in an employment discrimination suit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives;
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled for the first time last year that “gender identity or expression” in the workplace is protected under federal civil rights law;
  • The Office of Personnel Management inserted “gender identity” for the first time into its federal workplace anti-discrimination policy;
  • The American Psychiatric Association removed “gender identity disorder” from its list of mental health ailments in late 2012, a move some regarded as a lifting of the social stigma attached to transsexual behavior.

In Massachusetts, a recent state law interpretation by Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester requires schools to permit “transgender” boys to use girls’ locker rooms, bathrooms and changing facilities if the boys “assert” they’re really girls.

“Some students may feel uncomfortable with a transgender student using the same sex-segregated restroom, locker room or changing facility,” the official document admits.

But it then concludes that “this discomfort is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student.”

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