The city council approved the ordinance.
While deliberations have been taking place, "dueling rallies" battled in San Antonio over the ordinance, as reported yesterday by Emily Baucum of the local News 4. Those who supported the ordinance wore red, and those who opposed wore blue. Sonja Harris of texasgopvote.com wrote in part that "there were at least 800 Blue shirts for the 2 pm City Council session and over 1,000 for the 6 pm meeting." She reported,
The sea of Blue overpowered those wearing Red at the 6 pm council meeting...
but not surprisingly, that fact was not reported in the local news.
The ordinance has gained national attention, particularly for the "word or deed" clause, or Sec. 2-252(b) which "appears to ban anybody who has ever 'discriminated by word or deed' against gays from ever holding a city job, holding a city contract, or serving on a city board," as reported by Jim Forsyth of WOAI.
Some of the comments made during the discussion today, as documented by Kens5SanAntonio were as follows:
Councilwoman Ivy R. Taylor made some brilliant statements during the deliberations. She said that she wanted to vote for the ordinance, but felt that "the current ordinance falls short." Taylor said that many of those who do not support the ordinance have been painted as "bigots."
Councilwoman Elisa Chan said that the way the ordinance is written "provides loopholes," and would "open the city to lawsuits." Chan said the ordinance "creates reverse discrimination in the name of political correctness."
Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales supported the ordinance, while noting that the "revisions have caused confusion." She said she would like to vote yes for the ordinance and urged the council to vote and move forward with other work, particularly the budget.
Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran supported the ordinance, saying that discrimination should be addressed when it arises.
Councilman Ron Nirenberg supported the ordinance, saying it was the "right choice" for San Antonio, saying that "equal rights for all makes economic sense." He evoked the 50th Anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr., and the founding fathers' intent when coining the phrase "all men are created equal."
Councilman Carlton Soules did not support the ordinance, as he said he would like for the ordinance to be "tabled." He discussed "due process" and asked who would be final judge should be in the case of a discrimination claim. He was told that the EEOC would make the decision and come back to the City Council if the charges rose to the level of discrimination. Soules picked out some holes in the ordinance, including the language surrounding the ability of transgender people to use restrooms based on their biological sex. He alluded that veterans groups were used as a "political prop."
Councilman Rey Saldana said the ordinance was "long overdue" and declared his support. He said it should not be blue versus red and people should not resort to bitterness. People need to be understanding of richness of diversity, he said. He said that there is "equality for all and privileges for none."
Mayor Julian Castro, who introduced the ordinance, said that he was "raised to represent...the vulnerable." He believes that the ordinance is "balanced" and assured participants that it does not discriminate against those who have certain religious beliefs. He said, "this ordinance will help ensure that every citizen in this city will be treated equally."
It is about perception.
While it is entirely rational to seek to ensure that certain groups are not subject to discrimination, who is to be the judge of what is discriminatory? As Councilwoman Ivy R. Taylor mentioned, opponents are already being called "bigots."
This tweet says it all:
If you think your religion allows you to discriminate or mistreat the LGBTQ community your religion is a hate group. #NDO4SA
— Christie (@ATXChristina) September 5, 2013
For example, some believe that support of "traditional marriage" means "anti-gay." If one holds this view, will he or she (or they) rally against members from conducting business with San Antonio?
Consider the Chick-fil-A controversy last year. Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy publicly voiced his support of traditional marriage and was quickly portrayed as anti-gay by many in the mainstream media. Another example is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), who called the Family Research Council a "hate group" over their support of traditional marriage.
The so-called "non-discrimination ordinance" may result in discrimination against Christians.