HOUSTON - Officials say opponents of Houston's new anti-bias protections for gay and transgender residents have failed to collect enough valid signatures to force a repeal vote in November.
The City Council in May adopted the discrimination bans in housing, employment and services provided by private businesses. Critics contend the ordinance impedes on religious liberties.
Those backing a repeal referendum needed 17,269 signatures, or 10 percent of the ballots cast in the last mayoral election, to put the issue to voters.
They recently claimed to have collected 50,000-plus signatures.
But City Attorney David Feldman said Monday that less than half of the 5,000 pages of signatures submitted to city officials were valid. Signers had to be verifiable as registered Houston voters.
Feldman said that meant only 15,249 valid signatures were collected.
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