San Antonio, TX, September 4, 2013 – Two more San Antonio elected officials have condemned a controversial proposed ordinance in San Antonio that extends so-called non-discrimination protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in a way that stifles free speech and tramples on religious liberty. State Rep. Lyle Larson and State Board of Education Member Ken Mercer, both from San Antonio, join a growing list of local, state, and national leaders, including U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Attorney General Greg Abbott, State Sen. Donna Campbell, whose district includes a portion of San Antonio, State Sen. Ken Paxton, State Sen. Dan Patrick, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, and State Rep. Dan Branch in opposing the proposed ordinance.
“As a former City Councilman, I am dismayed that the Council has chosen to focus so much energy and attention on this issue, particularly when the City faces so many challenges that need to be addressed. It is not the role of the government, at any level, to police social issues in this manner…Frankly, the national attention this proposal has garnered is embarrassing and has caused many to question the ability of the San Antonio City Council to achieve its mission…I respectfully recommend that you shelve this ill-conceived ordinance and focus on the core functions of city government.”
State Rep. Lyle Larson (San Antonio)
“This NDO is unconstitutional, violating both the First Amendment of the United States’ Constitution and the Texas Religious Freedom Act. It will force Christian employers and employees to violate both their conscience and State law…As a Member of the 2003 Texas House, I voted for the Defense of Marriage Act for Texas. DOMA defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Two years later 76% of Bexar County and of Texas voted for a Constitutional DOMA amendment to protect our state from political liberals who might refuse to defend and recognize traditional marriage. If City Council wants to change the Constitution, then have the political courage to let the people vote.”
SBOE Member Ken Mercer (San Antonio)
Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz released this statement in regards to the growing outrage over the proposed ordinance:
“With the growing outrage to this unconstitutional proposal and the tremendous turnout at the City Council meeting last week, the people of San Antonio clearly want this proposal tossed out. No government has the right to silence people of faith and to punish individuals and businesses that hold a traditional view of marriage and sexuality, like this ordinance would do. Mayor Castro and the City Council should drop this divisive effort and end this embarrassment for the great city of San Antonio.”
The San Antonio City Council is expected to vote on the proposed ordinance on Thursday. Last week, the City Council publicly discussed the ordinance for the first time, admitting that the city has no evidence of any discrimination based upon an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity. Also revealing was City Attorney Michael Bernard’s answers to questions about the ordinance that caused more doubt and concern about the ordinance’s legal status and ability to hold up in court. Concerned citizens wearing blue swarmed the council chambers in opposition to the ordinance and for over six hours expressed serious concerns about how the ordinance would attack private businesses, stifle free speech, trample on religious liberty, and potentially create safety concerns in public-use bathrooms and changing facilities.
Read Rep. Larson’s full letter to Mayor Castro opposing the ordinance here.
See SBOE Member Ken Mercer’s statement here.