Houston Mayor Annise Parker has issued one of nation's "most comprehensive" executive orders protecting LGBT municipal employees, reports the Dallas Voice.
"Parker’s order replaces one signed by her predecessor, Bill White, the Democratic nominee for Texas governor. White’s order covered sexual orientation and was similar to protections for gay, lesbian and bisexual employees in Dallas. 'I felt it important that our written policy reflect what has long been the practice of the city, which is we do not discriminate,' Parker told Dallas Voice. Parker’s order, which includes gender identity/expression, was signed on March 25 and took effect immediately."
A second order issued the same day prohibits ethnic, racial, homophobic and other slurs and jokes:
"The second order prohibits not only degrading verbal comments but also mentions electronic media including screen savers, posters, cartoons and drawings. Menacing behavior, critical or mocking comments and perpetuating stereotypes are listed as behavior inappropriate for the workplace. Employees violating the policy are subject to disciplinary action up to indefinite suspension. Supervisors or managers who do not act on allegations or evidence are subject to disciplinary action."
On January 12, the openly lesbian City Comptroller Annise Parker was elected mayor of Houston in a decisive victory with 53% of the vote. The nation's fourth largest city is now the largest in the U.S. to elect an openly LGBT chief executive.