Petition drive targets Plano’s rights ordinance

A petition drive is underway to overturn Plano’s controversial equal rights ordinance, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The initiative was launched by an ad hoc group called Plano Citizens United (planoequalrights.com) and the Houston-based Texas Pastor Council.

Supporters hope to gather at least 3,822 signatures by the Jan. 20 deadline to force the Plano City Council to either repeal the ordinance or let voters decide.

If enough signatures are validated, the council must comply or call a special election, according to the City Charter. May 9 would be the earliest date for such an election.

More than 50 churches and a number of elected officials are involved in the effort, said Dave Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, who is serving as spokesman for the Plano initiative.

He said such policies are unnecessary and infringe on the rights of individuals and businesses to practice their faith.

“There’s no proven pattern of discrimination to warrant these policies,” said Welch, who led a similar initiative to overturn Houston’s equal rights ordinance. The city was sued after it invalidated a petition to place the ordinance on the November ballot.

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