Prominent evangelist Franklin Graham has praised the city of Houston after the controversial "Equal Rights Ordinance" was defeated at the ballot box. Critics of the ordinance said would have allowed men to use women's restrooms if enacted.
As reported by the Gospel Herald, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, was put to the referendum as Proposition 1 in the nation's fourth largest city earlier this week and lost with 62 percent of voters rejecting it.
According to Fox News, HERO expanded antidiscrimination laws regarding businesses and public facilities to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
"This outrageous referendum would've left women's restrooms wide open to registered male sex offenders and other sexual predators," Graham wrote in a Facebook post after congratulating Houston citizens for defeating the ordinance.
"In spite of high-profile endorsements from the White House, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and Houston's gay activist mayor-this outrageous referendum lost," the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse continued.
"That's a victory and great news for Houston!" he added. "I applaud those who worked so hard to oppose this proposition...Voters and leaders at all levels across America need to take note that these battles are worth fighting for the sake of the future of our nation."
Fox notes that in May 2014, the Houston City Council voted 11 to 6 to approve an Equal Rights Ordinance with the strong support of openly gay Mayor Annise Parker.
The controversial ordinance amended Chapters 2, 15 and 17 of Houston's Code of Ordinances, prohibiting discrimination in public facilities and private employment on the basis of "protected characteristics."
Such characteristics included race, color, ethnicity, sex, national origin, age, familial and marital status, military status, religion, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity.
However, a lawsuit to have residents vote on the measure eventually made it to the Texas Supreme Court, which in July ordered the city to either repeal the ordinance or put it on the ballot.
"The City Council is directed to comply with its duties, as specified in the City Charter, that arise when the City Secretary certifies that a referendum petition has a sufficient number of valid signatures. Any enforcement of the [Equal Rights] ordinance will be suspended," ruled the high court.
"If the City Council does not repeal the ordinance by Aug. 24, then by that date the City Council must order that the ordinance be put to popular vote during the November election."
On Monday, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted his support for opponents, saying, "HOUSTON: Vote Texas values, not @HillaryClinton values. Vote NO on the City of Houston Proposition 1. No men in women's bathrooms."
Following the defeat of HERO, Family Research Council, a socially conservative organization based in Washington D.C., emphasized that there is still far more work to be done in protecting religious freedom across the United States.
"Houston has become a rallying cry for Americans tired of seeing their freedoms trampled in a politically correct stampede to redefine marriage and sexuality," stated FRC President Tony Perkins.
"Houstonians' religious freedom, freedom of speech, and the right to petition their government have won the day, but much more work remains to be done to safeguard these freedoms across the nation."