Decency Ordained: Austin’s Anti-Gay Crusade

Ken Martin, editor of The Austin Bulldog, wrote “Decency Ordained: Austin’s Anti-Gay Crusade” for Third Coast magazine. The article, published in the January 1982 edition, focused on the election scheduled for January 16, 1982. The only item on the ballot was a proposed ordinance that was put before voters through a successful petition drive. If approved by voters the ordinance would have amended the city’s Fair Housing Ordinance by allowing landlords to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The ballot language stated: “It shall not be unlawful to deny housing on the basis of sexual preference.” The voters soundly rejected the measure with 37 percent in favor and 63 percent opposed.