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San Antonio Passes LGBT Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Texas state sealSan Antonio has approved a measure which outlaws discrimination against LGBT people. They managed to pass the ordinance despite heavy opposition from conservatives and anti-LGBT Christians.

The passage of the measure marks a rare victory for Democrats and LGBT Texans in the Lone Star State.

The measure adds “sexual preference and gender identity” to the groups already protected with regards to housing and public accommodation. The proposed changes sparked weeks of bitter and often contentious debate aimed at Mayor Julian Castro and his supporters.

Castro stated that “This ordinance fundamentally is about insuring that whether you are white or black, whether you are Christian or Jew, whether you are straight or gay, this city belongs to you too.”

Many anti-LGBT Christians want nondiscrimination ordinances such as this to provide religious exemptions in them in order to allow businesses which are owned by anti-LGBT individuals to discriminate even though such an exemption could easily be abused to discriminate against Christians, racial minorities, and other groups.

The measure passed 8 to 3.

Julian Castro

Julian Castro

Gregg Abbott, Texas’ Attorney General, and US Senator Ted Cruz both spoke out against the ordinance with Abbott stating “This proposed ordinance runs contrary to the Texas Constitution, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” Of course, this statement shows that Abbott apparently confused his ordinances as San Antonio is not aiming to legalize same-sex marriage.

This is a fact that San Antonio City Attorney Michael Bernard noted. He stated that “This does not attempt to legalize same sex marriage. It does not regulate anybody’s speech or action.”

Texas Pastor Gerald Flowers wined about the ordinance claiming that it puts Christians into a position of being permanent second class citizens. He also said “This thing is so central to the heart of so many people in this city that we cannot let it rest. This doesn’t end today.”

Liberty Institute has stated that they will file a federal lawsuit to block the measure. This is something that is likely to fail as every attempt to take down nondiscrimination ordinances has failed due to the fact that, while pastors like Flowers might define religious freedom as a license to discriminate against people, the courts do not tend to view religious freedom in that manner.

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