Voters May Decide Plano's Equal Rights Ordinance

The Liberty Institute said Tuesday that it has gathered far more than the number of signatures needed to force a voter referendum on Plano’s Equal Rights Ordinance.

The lead group challenging Plano’s recently adopted Equal Rights Ordinance — which bars discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation — said on Tuesday it has gathered enough signatures to force a voter referendum on throwing out the ordinance.

Jeff Mateer, Liberty Institute general counsel, said in a statement that its petition drive yielded more than 7,000 signatures to put the question on the ballot. Opponents of the ordinance, which extends Plano’s nondiscrimination policy to include protections for citizens' sexual orientation and gender identity, had to collect about 3,800 signatures by Tuesday.

“We are glad the voice of Plano citizens will finally be heard on this important religious liberty issue,” Mateer said. 

In a 5-3 vote in December, Plano’s City Council passed the ordinance — becoming the latest in a string of cities to update its nondiscrimination policy to include protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents. Nine Texas cities with populations over 100,000 have passed these protections, either in an ordinance or through other rules.