Jury Reached A Verdict In Houston Equal Rights Trial

Feb. 13, 2015Houston Public Media

On the sixth day of deliberation surrounding Houston’s equal rights ordinance, the jury has reached a verdict. They were charged with answering six questions regarding the validity of the signatures on the petition to overturn the ordinance.

The results are mixed — with some of their responses favoring the city and others favoring the plaintiffs.

Both sides are calling it a victory, but the judge in the case will review the verdict on Thursday.

Then he will decide whether the ordinance goes into effect, or whether voters will have a chance to repeal it.

“I am very pleased with the jury’s verdict, and I expect the court will apply the law to the verdict and issue a final judgment confirming that the petition failed,” saidHouston Mayor Annise Parker in an emailed statement. “I believe that the majority of Houston wants this divisive fight to be over so that we are able to provide equal rights protections for all of our residents. The City is confident it will prevail.”

Dr. F.N. Williams, lead plaintiff for the pastors of theNo UNequal Rights Coalition and Senior Pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church as well as President of Houston Ministers Against Crime, sent the following statement:

“The Mayor’s lawyers went to extraordinary lengths to discredit, demean, denigrate and disqualify as many petitions and signatures as possible. Thankfully, in spite of an incredible amount of detail presented and even oft repeated by the city’s attack team, our God has again raised His standard of justice.”

Both parties had previously said they will appeal if the judge rules against them.