In Houston, the cosmopolitan big city with an openly gay mayor, the battle over an equal-rights ordinance that barred discrimination against the LGBT community raged for months before the City Council approved it in May. In Plano, the quintessential Texas suburb and home base of the Liberty Institute, the religious-right vanguard, it lasted about two hours.
|Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, who emerged on Monday as a fierce proponent of expanded LGBT protections.|
The Plano City Council passed its Equal Right Policy by a 5-3 vote on Monday evening, outlawing discrimination in employment, housing and in "places of public accommodation" (e.g. businesses) on the basis of "sexual orientation and gender identity." The ordinance extends those same protections to veterans for good measure.
By now, all the major cities in Texas -- Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, Houston -- have some version of a non-discrimination ordinance. But Plano is different. While Frisco has supplanted Plano in the public imagination as North Texas' most irritatingly shiny and self-satisfied outpost, Plano remains a byword for the deep-crimson conservatism of the Texas suburb. Nevertheless, it's LGBT ordinance zipped through city government with lightning speed, passing only three days after the item was posted on the City Council agenda. Plano is also different because nowhere else in Texas has the religious right been so satisfyingly brushed aside.More »