Foes of Plano’s equal rights ordinance say petition drive successful

Opponents of Plano’s new equal rights ordinance say they were successful in meeting Tuesday’s petition drive deadline that will force the City Council to repeal the measure or place it on the ballot.

They had to collect at least 3,822 signatures of registered Plano voters opposed to the policy that extends anti-discrimination protections to people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Organizers of initiative say they presented petitions with more than 7,000 signatures to the city on Tuesday.

Plano officials now must verify the signatures, a process that’s expected to be completed by the end of the month.

The issue could be placed on a City Council agenda as early as Feb. 9.

If the council declines to repeal the ordinance, it would be placed on the ballot for the May 9 election, city officials say.

“We are glad the voice of Plano citizens will finally be heard on this important religious liberty issue,” said Jeff Mateer, general counsel for the Liberty Institute, a Plano nonprofit religious defense organization.